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Jordan Gets His First Good Cuts of the Season : Basketball: He rips Pippen and Grant but says he won’t come back.

From Associated Press

Michael Jordan ripped former Chicago Bull teammates Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant and said he could average 32 points after only two weeks of preparation if he decided to come back to the NBA.

In an interview published Friday by the New York Post, Jordan said pride prevents him from even considering an NBA comeback, though, because “I’d never want the media to think they were right.”

The three-time most valuable player, who retired from the Bulls before last season to pursue a professional baseball career, spoke after his Birmingham Barons lost, 3-2, in 10 innings to the Orlando Cubs on Tuesday night.

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Jordan, whose father, James, was murdered on July 23, 1993, said his father’s death had no bearing on his retirement.

“I had totally lost interest,” he said, adding he told teammates of his plans in the second half of his last season. “I knew I had to give it up.”

Then, speaking about Pippen and Grant, Jordan said his father encouraged him “all that season” to retire because “he felt my teammates didn’t appreciate what I was doing for them.

“I covered their (butts) when they got tight at the end of games and I had to overcome fourth-quarter deficits all by myself. It bothered my father a lot, just as it bothered me, to hear them (complaining) about not getting enough credit, or not getting enough shots, or squawking about the supposed preferential treatment I was getting from (Coach) Phil (Jackson).

“They had no idea how much pressure and grief I had to put up with off the court while carrying them on the court.

“Scottie found out the hard way what it’s like to be under the microscope 24 hours a day. For the first half of the season he did great carrying the team; the second half not so great.”

Then, referring to Pippen’s refusal to play the final seconds of a playoff game against the New York Knicks because he was to be a decoy on the play while Tony Kukoc took the final shot, Jordan said Pippen made a big mistake.

“I don’t think he’ll ever live that down,” Jordan said.

Although Jordan has a .188 batting average and 10 errors in right field for Birmingham, he said he still “can’t come up with a single reason to change my mind” about returning to basketball.

Then he came up with one.

Noting that Reggie Miller said recently that Dream Team II is better than the first Dream Team of Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, Jordan said he would love to play a charity game matching the teams.

“Those guys are on the right team, because they’re definitely dreaming,” he said. “Not only was Dream Team I better, but we could beat them right now.”


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