Mr. Wizard?

January 15, 2000

THE LAST-PLACE Washington Wizards look so awful, it seems only a messiah can save them. Lo and behold! Could that savior be on the way?

Don't get too excited yet. The franchise that was once Baltimore's may or may not sign Michael Jordan as part-owner and key decision-maker. But speculation that His Airness might come to the Baltimore-Washington area is stirring plenty of optimism in local sports circles. For good reason.

Mr. Jordan doesn't have to hover over mere humans or hit clutch jumpers anymore to make a difference. He just has to be.

The authority he reportedly would have to sign players and fire coaches and front office staff isn't important. The team isn't looking for a management wizard.

Mr. Jordan's value is his star quality. The man generates buzz. As celebrities go, His Airness can go one-on-one with Jack Nicholson and other members of the Los Angeles Lakers' cast of spectators.

Having MJ as a neighbor might be the second-best thing that could happen to pro basketball in Baltimore. The best thing, of course, is the city getting its own NBA franchise.

It would take a real savior to make that happen.

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