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Michael Jordan Ends NBA Career ... Again

Michael Jordan's National Basketball Association playing career will apparently end on the road Wednesday, as his Washington Wizards takes on the 76ers in Philadelphia. Jordan had hoped to get the Wizards to the post-season in his final year, but they did not make the playoffs.

Michael Jordan has retired twice before. Once to play minor league baseball for the Chicago White Sox organization, and then again in 1999, after the Chicago Bulls had won their sixth NBA championship in eight years. At the time, he said he was 99.9 percent sure he would never play the game again.

But with that 0.1 percent, he left the door open. And in 2001, after spending one year as a basketball operations executive for the Washington Wizards, he walked through that door, coming back to play in the unfamiliar uniform of the Wizards.

This time, the 40-year-old Jordan said his retirement from the court is permanent. "When this season is over, that is the last time I will be in a uniform competitively in the NBA. I am 100 percent [sure] this is my last year," Jordan said.

So what is next for Michael Jordan? Everyone assumed that he would return to the Wizards' front office. But that was before Chicago Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause unexpectedly retired due to health problems last week.

At the time, Jordan announced he had no interest in replacing Krause, saying Washington was where he started and where he wants to finish as a basketball executive. But on Wednesday, after a loss to the Boston Celtics, it seemed as if Jordan was at least leaving the door to Chicago open.

"Obviously my focus is to go back upstairs [to management with the Wizards], and hopefully it works out that way. But if it does not, then obviously I have options. You know, not just Chicago, other options as well. So I mean, for me ideally is to keep this think rolling. Keep this team [the Wizards] moving in the right direction. That is what I truly want to happen," Jordan said.

While some Bulls fans feel Michael Jordan's return to Chicago would bring his saga with the city full circle, it is probably not likely to happen.

Team sources have told newspapers that a pair of former Chicago players, Bulls radio analyst John Paxson and Krause assistant B.J. Armstrong, are the top two candidates to succeed Krause.

But as NBA fans have learned over the years, when it comes to Michael Jordan, never say never.