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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Where next for Jordan?
By Kevin Asseo
Our man in the US

Imagine the predicament facing Michael Jordan's family each year when his birthday rolls around, trying to decide what to get for a man who has everything.

Jordan walks off court after a game for the Washington Wizards
Jordan has never ruled out the possibility of coaching

Now try to imagine the dilemma Jordan himself faces now his NBA playing days are over.

For the man who has done everything, what possibly is there to do next?

There had been talk in some quarters that this season would not really be the end for MJ.

But surely those doubters were finally convinced after witnessing the weekend-long farewell festivities at the NBA All-Star game.

They were capped by Jordan's half-time declaration that he can now "go home and feel at peace with the game of basketball".

So what will he turn his hand to next?


Owner:

The next logical step for Jordan would be to resume an active role as co-owner of Washington.

Jordan sold his stake in the Wizards when he returned to the court - an NBA rule states that an active player cannot hold any equity in a team - but Washington will gladly welcome him back to the boardroom.


Coach:

Jordan has never ruled out the possibility of coaching, though he has not expressed an outright desire to pace the sideline either.

In the current era of pro basketball, where a coach often has to struggle just to get the ear of his charges, surely players would be queuing up to listen to the preachings of MJ.

Chances are, however, that such proximity without participation, and the frustration of coaching players far less skilled than himself, may put him off.


Advertising icon:

Jordan's skill as a player has nearly been matched by his savvy as "product pitchman".

MJ'S SELLING POWER
1. Air Jordan trainers made $130m (90m) in their first year of sales
2. Jordan was in two separate ad campaigns during the Super Bowl

And, as he showed during his 1998 "retirement," that there is no reason why being out of basketball should slow down the Jordan endorsement steamroller.

Fortune magazine estimated in 1998 that Jordan had had a $10bn impact on the US economy - a staggering number that has increased, and will continue to rise, with time.

If Jordan so desired, he could spend the rest of his days on the golf course while raking in millions in endorsement deals.

But somehow that does not seem possible for the most competitive man in US sport.


General manager:

The likely outcome for Jordan is to follow in the footsteps of the greatest shooting guard of a previous generation, Jerry West.

Jerry West is the model for the NBA logo
West appears as a silhouette on NBA logo

West, whose silhouette can be seen on the NBA logo - has become the league's most successful general manager, winning six championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jordan has previously served as de facto GM of the Wizards, holding down the title of "director of basketball operations," but spending more time planning a comeback than building a team.

With his playing days officially behind him, Jordan could immerse himself in the role.

He would have more leeway than most first-time general managers, simply because as a co-owner, Jordan would probably not fire himself after the Wizards' first poor season.

But would he be able to endure the losing seasons, which are sure to come?

That is a key question that needs to be answered to determine whether "MJ, Part Two" will star Jordan as the builder of champions or as merely the smiling face of Nike.



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