Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Is CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to blame for Michael Jordan’s ill-fated return to hoops?

Wolf Blitzer has long featured a dry sense of humor that stands in stark contrast to his rather awesome name, which sounds like the titular video game character your little brother played with on Sega Genesis 18 years ago. So we suspect he's working with his tongue placed firmly in cheek as he discusses his role in convincing then-Washington Wizards GM Michael Jordan to return to the NBA following a three-year absence in 2001.

From an interview with the Washington Post's Michael Lee:

"At one point, I said to him, 'This city would really explode if you put your uniform back on and starting playing a little bit.' And he laughed. Then I pressed him and pressed him. After the interview, he did it," Blitzer said in a recent telephone interview. "Now being an egomaniac that I am, I take personal credit. But I suspect there were other factors besides my excellent questioning that convinced him to come back and play."

Again, this is probably a sly joke on Blitzer's part. And a needed one, because it reminded of the forum in which he asked Jordan -- an awful (though no fault of Blitzer's) town hall meeting on CNN to discuss what was so terribly wrong with the NBA while using 47 descriptions of the same insinuation ("too young, too black," essentially) while ignoring the real problems (hand-checking and physical play was killing the offenses, stars were in short supply, and too few coaches let their teams run).

If you do take Blitzer at his word, jokes aside, understand that Jordan was going all out at Wizards practice the day he signed with the team as GM and part-owner 13 months before the Blitzer back and forth. He was a regular with the team in practice throughout 2000-01, rumors began to spread about his slow build to a comeback midway through that season, but he waited until Sept. 10, 2001 (seven months after Blitzer's question) to admit (without much fanfare and late in the evening to the Associated Press, and on the steps of his go-to workout center in Chicago) that he was planning a full-fledged comeback as a player.

Of course Wolf is joking, though. Right? Right.

(Please tell me he's joking. HT: Tom Ziller at SB Nation.)

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