Michael Jordan loses federal lawsuit

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge has ruled a store chain’s reference to Michael Jordan in an ad-like magazine layout was constitutionally protected free speech, not an advertisement.

The ruling signals the ex-Chicago Bull’s lawsuit against Jewel Food Stores may well fail. It’s also a blow to Jordan’s bid for control of his billion-dollar image.

Judge Gary Feinerman in Chicago found Jewel wasn’t endeavoring to sell anything with the page featuring basketball shoes emblazoned with “23,” Jordan’s Bulls jersey number.

In the layout published in Sports Illustrated in 2009, Jewel congratulated Jordan on his recent induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. It included Jewel’s logo.

Jordan’s attorneys had argued in filings that Jewel didn’t have to be selling anything specific for it to be illegally deploying Jordan’s fame to promote the company.