SBD/16/Sports Industrialists

THE JORDAN WATCH -- ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER NON-STORY

     The Michael Jordan watch continued yesterday, but still no
announcements on the megastar's plans are expected.
     COVER BOY:  Jordan appears on the March 20 cover of SPORTS
ILLUSTRATED in the form of a cartoon entitled "It's SuperMichael
... Or is it?"  With a White Sox Cap falling off of his head,
Jordan is shown pulling his shirt open with a Bulls jersey on
underneath.  SI's Phil Taylor describes the "second coming":
"The impact of his return on the NBA, should it come to pass,
would be of Biblical proportions."  Taylor says a Jordan return
"couldn't come at a better time for the league, which has been
hit with a torrent of negative publicity in recent months."
Orlando GM Pat Williams:  "They will be doing an Irish jig on the
desks of the NBA office" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 3/20).
     REINSDORF FED UP:  In New York, Peter Vecsey reports that
Bulls Owner Jerry Reinsdorf is "fed up" with the Jordan rumors
and will not comment on the situation until it is finalized.
Reinsdorf: "If he says no, that's easy, I'll announce it.  If he
says yes, there'll probably be some things that have to be worked
out, so I won't want to talk until it's over."  Vecsey:  "In
other words, Jordan's getting close to making a decision" (N.Y.
POST, 3/16).
     THIS AIR-LINE NOT IN TROUBLE:  ESPN's Grace Lee Nikkel notes
that stock prices of Jordan-endorsed products have surged and
commercials "satirizing" the decision will soon "fill the
airwaves":  "All this can make you wonder whether Jordan's delay
of game is simply a marketing ploy, designed and carefully
crafted like the statue that bears his image" ("SportsCenter,"
3/15)....Andrew Gottesman writes, "The Jordan saga, so appealing
at first, has managed to become a lot like the Simpson saga --
perhaps even worse in a journalistic sense" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
3/16).
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