Jordan finally arrives on hoops video game cover

After all those championships and MVP awards, Michael Jordan has

finally arrived – on the cover of a basketball video game.

Jordan fronts NBA 2K11, a game that allows fans to add Jordan to

their favorite team – if they can first replicate some of his

greatest highlights.

One of sports’ top pitchmen during his Hall of Fame playing

career, Jordan had never before appeared on the cover of an

NBA-licensed basketball game.

Now the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, the six-time champion

with the Chicago Bulls said Thursday the deciding factor in doing

it now was the opportunity ”to connect to this generation, when in

essence a lot of these young kids never saw me play.”

”They do remember me from ‘Space Jam,’ but not from

basketball,” Jordan said. ”So I felt like this would be a good

opportunity to kind of expose them to that.”

Jordan had input in the development of the game, which was

released Tuesday and includes features such as the ”Flu Game” and

the ”Shrug Game.” The five-time MVP said he’s received great

response, adding that his boys are ”totally going crazy.”

To obtain Jordan for their team, players first have to unlock

him by completing the ”Jordan Challenge,” a series of 10 of

Jordan’s most memorable performances that he helped select.

Among them are his 63-point performance against Larry Bird and

eventual champion Boston in 1986, and Chicago’s Game 5 victory over

Utah in the 1997 NBA finals, when Jordan shook off an illness to

lead the Bulls within a victory of another title. There’s also a

1992 finals game against Portland, when Jordan could only shrug

after hitting his sixth 3-pointer of the first half – which the

video game character also does.

”To me the toughest was probably the flu game under the

circumstances, what I had to deal with to play and what was at

stake at that time,” Jordan said. ”And the easiest of the ones

that was on the list was probably the 63-point game, which is the

only game I probably lost of all the highlights.”

Once that’s been completed, fans can place a rookie Jordan onto

their current team as if he were in the 2010 NBA draft. In a

commercial promoting the game, Kobe Bryant obtains the six-time

champion for his Los Angeles Lakers.

Jordan, of course, would rather compete against the top players

than join them.

”Would I do it? No. But can a kid do it?” Jordan said. ”Can a

Laker fan do it? Yeah. I think that’s the beautiful part of the

game.”

In real life, Jordan is focused now on building a team. He

returned from a trip to the Ryder Cup to watch his Bobcats fall to

0-2 in the preseason with a 97-93 loss to Oklahoma City on

Wednesday.

Charlotte made its first playoff appearance last season, then

lost point guard Raymond Felton when he signed with the New York

Knicks. D.J. Augustin is now the starter, and Jordan said he

doesn’t need an upgrade.

”I got a point guard. I got two, actually,” he said. ”So I

mean, I’m always looking to better the scenario if any other

All-Star point guards become available. Sure, I’d be willing to

talk, but as of right now I’m happy with what I have.”

The Bobcats could have landed Nets point guard Devin Harris in

the collapsed four-team proposal that would have sent Carmelo

Anthony from Denver to New Jersey. Charlotte coach Larry Brown

covets solid play at the position, and there’s been speculation

he’ll lobby Jordan to obtain someone.

”That’s Larry,” Jordan said. ”If you know Larry, Larry wants

to always (have) the highest. He would love to get a marquee point

guard as we would all, but I mean, as of right now we have a point

guard and we have to support him until things change.”

The video-game Bobcats have no such problem. They can do what

the real team never can: get Jordan out of the front office and

into uniform.