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Michael Jordan quashes mounting rumors
Updated: 2004-09-27 08:39

Recent speculation about Michael Jordan returning to the NBA for a third time seems to have taken on a life of its own -- to the point where Jordan himself felt the need to set the record straight.

Jordan spoke with Michael Wilbon, co-host of ESPN's Pardon The Interruption, on Thursday and denied he was coming back to play in the NBA and that he has talked to Shaquille O'Neal about playing for the Miami Heat.

"I don't know how this started. I haven't talked with Shaq. There's no comeback," Jordan told Wilbon.

A spokeswoman also said that Jordan isn't coming back.

"There is no truth to any rumors that Michael has ambitions to return to basketball," Estee Portnoy, a spokeswoman for SFX Sports Group, said Thursday. "He said, 'I think it's time to put the rumors to bed.' He's been puzzled and flattered. He found all these rumors very amusing. But he wanted to let everyone know he just has no plans to play."

ESPN Insider Chad Ford reported Sept. 1 that Jordan appeared at Hoops Gym in Chicago the previous week looking for a pickup game.

Jordan did play in a pickup game earlier this month, Portnoy said, but hasn't played since. She said the superstar's interest in playing in pickup games shouldn't be interpreted as a sign that he might return.

Jordan was just coming off his camp in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he played against some of the top college players in the country, including Chris Paul, Mustafa Shakur, Rashad McCants, Jarrett Jack and Joey Graham.

Portnoy said that Jordan had left messages with O'Neal in August because he was trying to get O'Neal to speak at his camp but that the two never got in touch.

She added that Jordan's interest in owning at least part of an NBA team remains "very strong." The Heat appears to be one of the teams under consideration for such a move.

There have been rumors for weeks that Jordan is contemplating a comeback -- possibly with the Heat. According to those same sources, the rumors aren't true.

"He's 41 years old. If he wanted to play, he probably still could," a source told Ford. "I would never say never with Michael, but that's not why he's here. He just wanted to get some exercise and some good runs. I don't think you'll see Michael playing in the NBA again."

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