In addition to Michael Jordan's affiliation with the Washington Wizards, he became a partner in the investor group that owns the Washington Capitals, who hope to tap into his professional sports experience.
While it was not immediately clear yesterday how much involvement Jordan would have with the NHL team, Capitals General Manager George McPhee welcomed Jordan's inclusion in Lincoln Holdings LLC, the ownership group led by America Online executive Ted Leonsis and businessman Jonathan Ledecky.
"We are all very excited about this," McPhee said yesterday from Sunrise, Fla., where the Capitals played the Florida Panthers. "Ted called me today and told me it was final and he'd like for me to tell the team that Michael Jordan is now one of our partners and is looking forward to meeting all of our players."
McPhee believes Jordan's input--even on a limited basis--could be vital in helping the organization draft and develop winning players and breed a winning atmosphere within the club.
"It would be a great thing for all of us to sit down with him in a room and just talk to him about what it takes to win and what he's learned throughout his career," McPhee said. ". . . So I think it's going to do our franchise a world of good in all kinds of ways, but most certainly with our athletes. Just sitting down with him for a couple of hours, it may change some of their lives. Imagine the impact he could have on some of our young players like [Jan] Bulis and [Richard Zednik] and some of our veteran players as well. He can talk to them about how to prepare and how to work hard."
Said Capitals rookie center Jeff Halpern: "He's the guy everyone wanted to be. I followed his career pretty closely. I just hope he'll shoot around down in that practice gym [at MCI Center] and we'll get to see him every now and again. . . . I wouldn't mind meeting him--I'd probably be speechless--but I think it's great for both teams."
Meanwhile, Jordan's involvement with the Wizards also could give him a hand in running the WNBA's Washington Mystics, although Jordan said he preferred to concentrate on the NBA team for now.
"I can only handle one issue at a time," he said. "That really hasn't been presented to me at this particular time. I can only evaluate one [team] at a time. I think someone has to handle that instead of me."
Wes Unseld, general manager of the Wizards and the Mystics, said he expects to continue his role with the women's team.
"My job as of right now is still the general manager for the Mystics, and I will continue to do that," Unseld said.
The WNBA's teams are collectively owned by the 29 NBA teams. As majority owner of the Wizards, Abe Pollin is the operator of the Mystics, who finished last season 12-20, the league's second-worst record.
"We welcome whatever involvement Michael might have," WNBA President Val Ackerman said yesterday. "I hope we can make him as excited about women's basketball as he clearly is about the NBA."