After a three year absence from basketball Michael Jordan is returning to the NBA, not for one season but two.
After months of speculation and rumors, the 38-year-old Jordan announced his comeback last Tuesday, saying he will play for the Washington Wizards through the 2003 season and donate his first year's salary of $1 million to the victims of the Sept.11 terrorist attacks.
Many people around UNM are excited about Jordan's return to the court.
"It's great; he is the best player that ever lived," junior Jason Yule said. "He will bring the fans back to basketball once again."
Ed Wyant, assistant coach for UNM women's basketball, said he thinks the positive aspect of Jordan's three-year layoff is that he will be rested, but he will revert to shooting a lot of jump shots.
"I have mixed emotions," Wyant said. "He left at the top of his game. I hope he can play, that he doesn't embarrass himself. But he is a very competitive person, so I think he will do fine."
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One question some people have in their minds is, can Jordan compete with players who are all in their 20s?
"Younger guys are definitely more athletic," junior Marlon Palmer said. "But Jordan knows how to tune up his game and he knows how to play the game, he'll do good against those guys."
Another question Jordan fans are pondering is if one of the greatest players ever can take a team that won only 19 games last season and turn it into a winner.
"He is a huge asset to the Wizards," senior Shayla Diesel said. "He will help the younger guys develop their games, but it will be hard for him to lead them to the elite half of the NBA in his first season back."
Jordan will officially make his regular-season debut Oct. 30 at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks and his first home game will be Nov. 3 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
"I think he is going to be a great player, but not right away," said Darren Savino, assistant basketball coach for the UNM men's team. "It's going to take him a quarter of a season to get used to the flow and speed of the game. He will be one of the top 10 best players in the game because he is so talented. Many people don't remember that three years ago no one could touch him. Is he going to be the best player? I don't know about that, but he will be in the top 10."