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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Other sports
Jordan's decision vanishes in thin air

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Michael Jordan kept his mouth shut and fax machine off, and the sports world spent another day awaiting official word of his return.

Jordan already has completed the paperwork to sell his share of the Washington Wizards, but the comeback announcement was delayed for at least one more day because of a licensing issue with one of his sponsors.

"Michael has not finalized his decision," said Estee Portnoy, vice president of marketing and client services for SFX, Jordan's management agency.

A statement from Jordan outlining the reasons for his comeback was being finalized, and he is expected to make his first appearance in a Wizards uniform at media day in Washington next Monday — the day before training camp begins in Wilmington, N.C.

But before the 38-year-old Jordan can end his three-year retirement, shoot his first free throw or run his first wind sprints, Jordan and legions of lawyers must fine-tune the fine print.

Because owners can't play, Jordan had to sell his share in Lincoln Holdings, which owns a portion of the Wizards, the NHL's Washington Capitals and the MCI Center. Jordan's stake, about 10 percent, goes to Lincoln Holdings majority owner Ted Leonsis.

"My understanding is that the ownership documents are finished," NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik said. "It just requires Michael's decision as to whether he's going to play."

Rather than be included in the group licensing agreement between the players' union and the league, Jordan reached his own licensing agreement with the NBA in 1992 — a side deal that would remain in effect for the upcoming season and beyond when Jordan returns. The quarrel that led to yesterday's holdup apparently involved amending that agreement.