Jordan, minus image, will go to Games

March 20, 1992|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

LANDOVER -- Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan announced last night that he will definitely participate in the 1992 Summer Olympics after settling a dispute over the use of his image on Olympics apparel.

"I'm playing, but Nike is still retaining my exclusive merchandising license," Jordan said before last night's game against the Washington Bullets. "My face will not be on any Olympic apparel, but my percentage [approximately 2.8 percent] from royalties will go to USA Basketball."

The 12 Olympians were to divide 34 percent of the royalties after the NBA Properties totaled up the sales. As of now, Jordan, represented by ProServ of Arlington, Va., is the only Olympian who will not allow his likeness to be sold during the games in Barcelona.

The Olympic hassle is just the latest distraction Jordan has faced this season. His problems began with the publication of the book, "The Jordan Rules," about the Bulls' 1990-91 championship season, in which Jordan was critical of several of his teammates.

"Basketball is still fun," he said. "When I'm playing, I'm able to escape the book and putting this image of being greedy behind me."

Jordan resolved his differences the past two days after meetings with Dave Gavitt, president of USA Basketball, and his ProServ agent, David Falk.

After the game, Falk said, "There has been no final resolution" in the dispute with NBA Properties.

"Everybody wants to do what's best for USA Basketball," Falk said. "But they [NBA officials] now acknowledge that they can't use Michael's image without his permission.

"But it has always been his intention to play in the Olympics. The problem is that he signed a contract through 1994 with Nike, and it is not his prerogative to reassign them in 1992."

Falk, who also represents New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing, another Olympic choice, said: "I believe Patrick will also give his share of the proceeds to USA Basketball, and that both he and Michael would have done this independently."

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