WorldCom Inc. isn't a household name for most consumers. But the telecommunications giant that has proposed a $30-million merger with MCI Communications Corp. has one of the world's best-known spokesmen--NBA superstar Michael Jordan. When WorldCom signed Jordan to a multiyear contract in 1995, executives cited Jordan's "worldwide popularity and business acumen." Jordan, who also holds contracts with Nike Inc., McDonald's Corp. and Coca-Cola's Sprite division, is used to speaking for some of the biggest names in industry. WorldCom Chief Executive Bernard J. Ebbers at the time said that Jordan's signing "demonstrates that [WorldCom] is serious about its long-term strategy to aggressively compete in the hotly contested telecommunications industry."
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