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  •   Quotes From Jordan's News Conference

    By Kari Lydersen Correspondent
    Web Posted:Wednesday, January 13, 1999; 3:50 p.m. EST

    Michael Jordan | Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf | NBA Commissioner David Stern

    Michael Jordan
    "There are a lot of other things happening in the world right now. I wanted to take time out to send out condolences to the family of the officer who was killed in action. [Chicago Police Officer John C. Knight was killed on Saturday.] It puts a lot of things in perspective as far as what life's really about. My responsibility with basketball is to relieve some of the pressures of everyday life for people who work nine to five."

    "I think the game itself is a lot bigger than Michael Jordan. I've been given an opportunity by the people before me: Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Dr. J, these guys came way before Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan came on the heels of all that activity."

    "I tried to enhance the game itself. I tried to be the best basketball player I could be."

    "I think the game is going to continue on. Although we've had our troubles in the last six months, that's a reality check for all of us. It is a business but it's still fun, it's still a game and the game will continue on."

    "I will be in Chicago for the rest of my life. My wife won't allow me to move anywhere else."

    "I thought of saying just two words, 'I'm gone.' But I figured I owed the fans and the media a little more than that, so that's my reason for being here."

    "I talked to Jerry last year when the season ended. I told Jerry that mentally I was a little exhausted, I didn't know if I would play next year. I wanted to put him on awareness so he would be prepared. I wanted to take time to make sure it was the right decision because it was the final decision. He encouraged me to wait till the time came to make that announcement. With the lockout I wanted to support the players and I wanted to be there as a voice ... to give my input. There's an obligation to the players involved. When the lockout ended I felt it was appropriate to announce my retirement."

    "My life's starting to go into a different stage. Basketball was the first stage in my life and it had to end. I chose to walk away knowing I could still play the game."

    "My middle kid loves Dennis Rodman and wants red hair. I don't mind if my kids idolize other basketball players. That shows Juanita and I are doing our job because they see me as a father, not a basketball player. But there won't be any red hair in my house."

    Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf
    "It's a tough day for Chicago, a tough day for the NBA, a tough day for basketball fans and Michael Jordan fans all over the world."

    "Standing in the United Center where Michael Jordan has given us so many wonderful moments, performances and championships it's hard to imagine the game without him. Michael is simply the best player who ever put on a basketball uniform. He defined the Bulls, the city and the NBA for more than a decade. His statue out in front of the building will greet everybody who ever enters this building again."

    "When Michael retired in 1993 we retired his number 23 and hung it in a position of prominence in the rafters. When Michael came back from baseball he asked us to take it down. He felt funny about playing when his number was hanging up above him so we took it down. Today, Michael, we will hang your number 23 back in its place of honor where it will forever serve as a reminder of your dominance on this court and your dominance of this game."

    "The truth is that with what Michael's lent to the NBA, this number could very well be retired in every arena. Certainly we in Chicago think that anyone who wears a number 23 basketball uniform will look like a pretender."

    "Michael, thank you very much for what you have lent to all of the world. There will never be another one of you."

    NBA Commissioner David Stern
    "To you, Michael, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for 29 teams and hundreds of millions of fans around the world. Thank you for what you've done for our game, thank you for being who you are not only for your leadership and greatness on the court but for who you are off the court."

    "Thank you for gracing our sport for 13 seasons. I disagree with Jerry saying it's a sad day. I think it's a great day because the greatest basketball player in the history of the game is getting the opportunity to retire with the grace that described his playing."

    "To you and to Juanita in the challenge of parenthood, I wish you nothing but continued success and health."

    © Copyright 1999

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