IS THE LUSTER BEGINNING TO WEAR OFF OF AIR?
The reaction to Michael Jordan's number change has turned
generally negative for both the NBA and Jordan.
OPINION SAMPLER: In New York, Harvey Araton writes, "Here,
we are again seeing the self-righteous side of Jordan that few
seemed to remember when people were lamenting the chaotic, greed
driven state of a National Basketball Association without him."
Araton writes that Jordan is "sending a message" to the NBA's
younger players that he had criticized when he returned: "If
Jordan is bigger than the rules, why aren't they?" (N.Y. TIMES,
5/15). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes, "Jordan isn't showing a
shred of respect for the league, he's manipulating it like a yo-
yo. He does it for a very simple reason: Because he can" (SAN
FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 5/15). In Chicago, Melissa Isaacson, on the
Bulls' role: "Does it smack of extreme arrogance to buck the
league you are a part of, to make yourself into martyrs over a
rule, er, policy that everyone else has to abide by? Sure, it
does" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/14). In Dallas, Cathy Harasta
criticizes the league for fining the Bulls instead of Jordan:
"His team got the big fine, which apparently reflected the NBA's
reluctance to go for a direct hit on Jordan" (DALLAS MORNING
NEWS, 5/13). But in Philadelphia, Diane Pucin writes that Jordan
has "earned" the right to wear whatever he wants: "It was a
ridiculous thing, the NBA stomping its collective feet in its
office in New York" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/14). On ESPN's
"Sports Reporters," Mike Lupica said, "David Stern is another
talented member of Michael Jordan's supporting cast. He'll get
used to it. Scottie Pippen did." Skip Bayless called Jordan
"bigger than the game. ... Michael is the commissioner of this
league" (ESPN, 5/14).
NO MIKES FOR MIKE: Jordan's refusal to talk to the media
has spread to several players on both teams in the Bulls-Magic
series causing NBA Commissioner David Stern to address the
situation, according to Mark Heisler in this morning's L.A.
TIMES. Heisler reports that Stern, after being informed of the
problem, declared: "No Steve Carlton's here." NBA VP of Public
Relations Brian McIntyre has since met with officials of both
teams and told reporters, "I'm sure you'll see more cooperation"
(L.A. TIMES, 5/15). Bruce Jenkins writes of Jordan's media
blackout, "The situation bears one conclusion above all else:
Michael Jordan isn't just the best player in the league. He is
the league. He dictates everything to his exact specifications"
(SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 5/15).
HE STILL SELLS: McDonald's Jordan-NBA ad campaign that
started shortly after his return is featured in USA TODAY's "Ad
Track," a poll conducted on the effectiveness of advertising
campaigns: 47% called the campaign "very effective," while only
14% thought it was "not effective." 34% liked the campaign,
while only 11% said they "hate it" (Dottie Enrico, USA TODAY,
5/15)....ABC's Armen Keteyian covered the "commercial war" is
taking place with the Shaq-Michael match-up. Keteyian called
Jordan's target audience as more mainstream, compared to Shaq's
younger followers. O'Neal's agent Leonard Armato: "It is sort
of like Jordan's was this incredible stereo that's best ever and
all of a sudden Shaq comes along and he's in the digital age and
he's multimedia" ("Good Morning America," ABC, 5/15).