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Michael Jordan expected to make rare appearance at United Center for Chris Chelios’ jersey retirement

CHICAGO — Michael Jordan is expected to make a rare United Center appearance this weekend for the jersey retirement of his longtime friend and Chicago Blackhawks great Chris Chelios.

Chelios said on WSCR-AM 670 on Wednesday morning that the Chicago Bulls legend is one of the guests he expects to be in attendance for the raising of his No. 7 to the UC rafters, which will take place during a pregame ceremony Sunday afternoon before the Hawks play the Detroit Red Wings.

“I’m going to have them try to bring everybody I possibly can that’s had an impact on me and obviously (Jordan) was a big part of my ’90s,” Chelios said on the “Mully and Haugh Show.” “They’re going to be here to support me. I got a pretty good Rolodex over the span of my career so I’m loading up. This a last hurrah and I’m going to make it a good one.”

Jordan and Chelios spent close to a decade commanding the attention of fans at the United Center. The Bulls drafted Jordan in 1984. Chelios was traded to the Blackhawks from the Montreal Canadiens in 1990 and played in Chicago until 1999 — one year after Jordan retired from the Bulls for the second time. Both led their teams to a Finals series in 1992.

The two met at a White Sox game after Chelios was traded and became friends across their time in Chicago, even sharing a drink after Chelios received a litany of boos from Hawks fans in his first game back in Chicago after he was traded in 1999.

Jordan did not attend the inaugural Bulls Ring of Honor ceremony in January, although Jordan cited a scheduling issue and sent a video praising the franchise and expressing gratitude for the honor.

“I am so bummed that I can’t be there tonight but I don’t want that to stop the fun that you guys are going to have,” Jordan said. “I think we made an impression and changed what Chicago represents in terms of champions. Every time you look up in the rafters, I want you always to remember where we were and where we are. And we are always going to be champions. I will always be a Chicago Bull and I want them to continually do well. I’d like to see other banners in the rafters and I hope the city can always be proud of the Chicago Bulls.”

The game Sunday will be a prominent event for Hawks fans as franchise great Patrick Kane returns to Chicago for the first time since being traded to the New York Rangers last season. Former Blackhawks Tony Amonte, Ed Belfour, Jeremy Roenick and Denis Savard also will participate in the Chelios retirement ceremony.