LONG GROVE, Ill. (AP) — Michael Jordan stopped short of announcing his retirement Thursday, reiterating that he wouldn’t play for any coach other than Phil Jackson, who left the Chicago Bulls last month.
Jordan said he wouldn’t make an official announcement about his status with the Bulls until after the NBA’s lockout ends. He also said he wouldn’t play for a college coach or a young coach like Iowa State’s Tim Floyd, who is the leading candidate to replace Jackson.
“I’ll wait until the situation (lockout) gets settled, making sure in my mind,” said Jordan, who talked to reporters after playing in a pro-am golf tournament.
“I feel that way right now. Ask me in two or three months and I may change. I don’t think I will. I’m pretty sure that’s my decision.”
Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said Wednesday he talked to Jordan about the coaching candidates before the lockout began. But Reinsdorf said he wouldn’t give Jordan veto power, adding that he would not hire a coach who couldn’t work with the five-time MVP.
Jordan said he didn’t want to tell Bulls management who their new coach should be. But he made it clear again the only coach he would play for — other than former North Carolina coach Dean Smith — is Jackson.
“Jerry Reinsdorf has always made his own choices. Whatever choices he makes, it doesn’t force me to play for his choices,” Jordan said. “I’m not going to be unhappy not playing the game of basketball.”
After the Bulls won their sixth title in June, Jackson declined an offer to return for another year.
Jordan said he hasn’t talked to Jackson, who is vacationing in Turkey and has already said he planned to take the rest of the year off and spend it away from basketball.
“Phil is not holding me hostage and I’m not holding him hostage. I’m not trying to hold Scottie Pippen hostage or Jerry Reinsdorf,” Jordan said.
“Whatever decisions they make, they are going to do that anyway. I’ll make my own decisions. If it doesn’t coincide, so be it.”
Jordan said he felt his input wasn’t highly valued in the selection of a new coach, who could be named within a week or so.
“It’s very obvious my feelings weren’t considered when they made their coaching decision,” Jordan said.
Floyd, whom Jordan derisively referred to as “Pink” during the season, has no NBA coaching experience.
“I don’t know Tim Floyd. I don’t have anything against Tim Floyd,” Jordan said. “Having a new coach is like starting out all over again. He may want to do that. But I don’t.”
Jordan said this time he would be satisfied to leave after leading the Bulls to a sixth title in eight years, winning a 10th scoring title, a fifth MVP and a sixth NBA Finals MVP title.
“I’m happy that I have a choice,” he said. “I have a choice to either play or not play. Very few athletes get in this position.
“None of you guys can say he stayed longer than he should have stayed. That’s how I’ve always (felt). I never wanted someone to put a foot in my butt and kick me out. When I walk away, I want you all to realize I can still lead the league in scoring, I can still lead the Chicago Bulls to a championship.”