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NBA Goes Crazy at `Soaring Emperor`

Posted October. 13, 2001 09:13,   


The returned `basketball emperor` was welcomed by the huge and warm standing ovation of 22,000 fans. After a three-year hiatus, Michael Jordan (38, Washington Wizards) stood again on the court in blue Wizards uniform with his characteristic jersey number `23` in pre-game with the Detroit Pistons at Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Jordan announced the comeback last month withdrawing the retirement in 1999, and made his first official NBA appearance in three years and four months since the NBA final game six with the Utah Jazz on June 14th, 1998.

Jordan got a 17-minute taste of NBA action in the first half, recording 8 points (50 percent of field goal), three rebounds, a steal, and a block. The returned MJ played the opening 8:08 of the first quarter and the first 8.25 of the second. Wizards Coach Doug Collins said, ``I said I was going to play him eight minutes, but after he came out he said `Let me play a little bit more`. ``

As soon as the starting whistle was blown, he fabulously swatted away a shot by Pistons forward Ben Wallace. And he went on to miss his first shot, a 3-pointer, and make his second, a 6-m jumper for the first points of the game.

Monopolizing the fans` attention, Jordan showed off the outstanding performance in the first quarter, but in contrast he did not mark an impression in the second quarter. In particular, Jordan laid the ball gently inside the rim instead of slamming it in the alley-oop dunk chance, and has not worked well in the post defense.

As Jordan stayed in the bench in the second half, the fans chanted ``We Want Michael.``

Jordan said after the first quarter, ``I surprised myself because my energy level was pretty good in the first quarter. I thought I was OK, and I felt like I`ve still got room for improvement.``

Meanwhile, in this game, the Detroit won over 95-85 the Washington with the help of thirty points by Jerry Stackhouse.

Kim Jong-Seok kjs0123@donga.com