Joe’s Sport Court: MJ to return?

Joseph Puligese

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player that has ever lived. But as all greats, Jordan has become old and aged and his physical ability has deteriorated.  Michael Jordan turned 50 this past week, sparking a week of highlights and tributes to a man that many worship in the world of basketball and sports.  Very few athletes have hit the age of 50 with a resume and timeline that can simply be described as legendary, in fact I would argue that there are only a handful of players in any sport in history that have earned that.  Babe Ruth, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, and maybe Peyton Manning are all considered living legends before they even retired from their sports and get anointed into the hall of fame.

This begs the question, could and will Jordan ever attempt another comeback to the sport of basketball?  First I have tried to research if there has ever been an athlete to retire and be inducted into any hall of fame and then comeback, the only one that I have found was Gordie Howe in hockey, who was inducted in 1972 and then played as late as 1980.  So it can be done and I do not believe that there are any rules against coming back after inducted into the hall of fame.  While 50 is old by all athletic standards it is certainly not impossible to be in great shape and be able to compete at that age.

Now a story came out during Jordan’s birthday week and all-star weekend that Jordan beat the number two pick in the draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in a game of one on one.  Kidd-Gilchrist is no Lebron James, but he is still a 19 year old kid that averages 9.1 points per game.  Rumors have also been swirling that Jordan’s trainer, Tim Grover, has put together a program to get him back down to his playing weight of 218 pounds, Instead of the 250 that he is at right now.  Grover also stirred the pot further and said that Jordan could still average 20 points per game and be the best player on the Bobcats right now.  I think that is a bit generous, however 10-15 would be a better estimate.

Whether you believe he would or not it’s fun to imagine if he would.  First ticket sales would sky rocket to every game and city he visited the non-stop coverage would result in millions for the bobcats.  Also looking at the schedule and time it would take him to drop 30 pounds and get in basketball shape the ideal date for a return would be April 3rd a home game against the Sixers.  That would leave 8 games left for him to play including a Knicks, Nets and most importantly a showdown with LeBron and the Heat which is the real draw for Jordan to comeback and show he can play with James at the age of 50.  April 5th could possibly be the biggest ticket to buy in basketball history, MAYBE.