Michael Jordan applauds son's decision to play basketball as walk-on at Illinois Print
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Friday, 09 November 2007 10:26
NCAAB Headline News


 CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Michael Jordan applauded his son's decision to walk on at Illinois rather than accept a scholarship to a smaller college.
The basketball legend and his 18-year-old son, Jeffrey, appeared on the ``Today'' show Friday.
Jordan said his son decided he wanted the challenge of proving himself at the Big Ten school.
``I'm thinking that's what I would have done,'' Jordan said.
Talking on the Illinois campus, NBC's Matt Lauer asked if the son had ever beaten his father in a basketball game.
``Ask him how many times,'' Jordan said to Lauer, knowing the answer would be once, before admitting that he wasn't thrilled about it at the time.
Jordan, a 6-2 guard at Loyola Academy prep school in Wilmette, Ill., chose Illinois over Valparaiso in April. He was a three-year starter at Loyola Academy and two-year All Catholic League player.
He'll be coached by Bruce Weber, who guided the Illini to a 23-12 record last year before losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six championships and was a five-time MVP, said he knows there will be high expectations for his son. But he told him meeting his own expectations is important.
``The thing we have tried to tell Jeff is that you pick your own expectations and if you're happy, that's all that matters,'' Jordan said. ``You're never going to make everybody happy.''
Jordan is now part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Jordan talked a bit about his divorce last year from his wife, Juanita, after 17 years of marriage. Along with Jeffrey - who is majoring in psychology and earned an academic scholarship to Illinois - the couple have a younger son and daughter.
``His mom and I were on the same page when it came to that,'' Jordan said. ``Our kids came first. We still communicate each and every day.''
Jordan said he talked to his son about mistakes he made in the past, including gambling. While he said there is nothing wrong with gambling, he advised his son to be careful.
``My lesson to him was 'Don't ever go outside your means,''' he said.
Jordan said when he attends his son's games, all eyes are on him. So as he's done in the past, he'll make an effort not to show his reactions during Illini games.
His son joked he supports his dad attending games because it takes some pressure off him.
``When he's there it kind of helps me a little bit because I know people aren't watching me so much,'' he said.
 

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