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Utah Jazz: Will Jordan face Russell again?

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 23 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

If you thought trying to lure Stephon Marbury to Orem was the biggest publicity stunt up Utah Flash owner Brandt Andersen's sleeve, you guessed wrong.

Now the D-League franchise boss, who gave Marbury a job offer via Twitter last week, is trying to pull off a promotion that would garner world-wide attention.

In fact, he's shooting for the biggest star the basketball world has ever seen.

Move over Starbury, Andersen has invited Michael Jordan to take on Bryon Russell in a one-on-one challenge in Utah County. First former NBA player in this supermano-a-journeymano showdown to score 21 points wins.

Sort of.

The real winner of the proposed 15-minute game would actually be a charity of the victor's choice. Up for grabs from Andersen's wallet: a $100,000 donation.

The proposed game would happen at the McKay Events Center during the Flash's home opener on Dec. 7.

Andersen's idea – which might not be as far-fetched as it sounds – came about because of some recent back-and-forth banter between Jordan and Russell.

During his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Jordan recalled that hearing Russell claim to be bummed out that he never got a chance to shut him down helped motivate him in his comeback. The result is legendary. A couple of years later, Jordan hit the famous jumper over the sprawling Russell to cap the Bulls' back-to-back championship victories against the Utah Jazz in 1997 and '98.

Getting called out on national TV by the guy he considers to be the greatest player ever prompted Russell to challenge Jordan to a one-on-one rematch.

Andersen wants to be "front and center" if it happens, too, and he believes his is the perfect solution.

Now he's just trying to get the stars to align.

"I have already called B-Russ directly and spoken to him about the event. I have also sent a message through a mutual friend to M.J. to invite him. He is going to be a little more difficult to convince but not impossible," Andersen said through a news release Tuesday.

"This would be a good P.R. move for (Jordan) following his speech. Back up those words that anytime you see B-Russ with his shorts on you are 'coming at him.'"

Andersen is convinced his proposition would benefit all sides involved.

"B-Russ wants some vindication and M.J. puts that fire we have always seen to the test by lacing them up one more time in a casual 'all for charity' event," Andersen said. "The match-up between these guys created one of the greatest moments in basketball history and was memorialized at Michael's Hall of Fame induction speech. Let's lace them up just one more time."

Andersen added that he believes "it would be sacrilegious to have this take place anywhere outside of Utah."

For one thing, it'd bring Russell back to where he spent his first nine seasons in the NBA. It'd also bring Jordan back near the scene of the famous/infamous shot while giving M.J. a chance to visit his Park City vacation home.

Andersen, no doubt, wouldn't mind some extra seats in his arena's seats, either.

That is, if Marbury hasn't sold the place out already.

e-mail: jody@desnews.com

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