Opponent: Washington Wizards
When: 10 a.m.
Where: MCI Center, Washington
TV: KONG (Ch. 6/16)
Radio: KJR (950 AM)
Probable starters: For Seattle – forwards Vladimir Radmanovic (6 feet, 10 inches) and Rashard Lewis (6-10), center Vin Baker (6-11), guards Brent Barry (6-6) and Gary Payton (6-4). For Washington – forwards Christian Laettner (6-11) and Michael Jordan (6-6), center Jahidi White (6-9), guards Richard Hamilton (6-7) and Chris Whitney (6-0).
Next game: Phoenix at Seattle, 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Memories of Michael: Several members of the Seattle SuperSonics were asked for their most compelling memory of Michael Jordan as they looked forward to facing him today for the first time in his comeback.
Sonics coach Nate McMillan grew up in Raleigh, N.C., a few hours from Jordan’s hometown of Wilmington, N.C. McMillan remembers going to a gym at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington to play against a group of college players – and Jordan, who was still in high school.
“I ended up playing (on the same team) with him,” McMillan said. “He was about to become a freshman at North Carolina and he dominated college boys even then. … He was doing then what he does now. Dominating, jumping over guys, dunking on them.
“I knew him when he was Mike, not Michael.”
Brent Barry remembers a game when he was a new player in the league, then with the Los Angeles Clippers.
“He came through the middle of the lane and I was guarding him on a cut. He caught the ball going to the left block, so the basket was behind the two of us, and he started to go up. And I timed it absolutely perfectly – or so I thought. He goes up with the ball, he turns in midair, he is about to shoot the ball. So I go up with my right hand and start to swat the ball. He pulls it back as my hand goes sweeping by. As I start to land, he is still going up.
“My arm goes sweeping by, he shoots it with the right, kisses it off the glass and in. Running back on defense, I go, ‘That was a hell of a shot.’ And MJ said, ‘Yup.’ “
Rashard Lewis, meanwhile, will be getting his first competitive look at Jordan. Lewis was a high school senior when Jordan played his last season with the Bulls in 1997-98; Lewis, who will guard him today, joined the NBA the next season.
“I never thought I would have a chance to play against him because he was in the NBA when I was a little kid,” Lewis said. “Now that I am getting ready to play against him, it is pretty much something that I can’t pass up. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. That I get to guard him is even better.”