So Michael Jordan is worth about $10 billion to the U.S. economy, eh?
That's certainly a huge wad of cash, but it hardly compares to the impact his teammate has had on America's pocketbook."We did another survey about my economic influence," joked Bulls guard Steve Kerr, facetiously revealing that his fiscal effect is about "$175 to the economy."
Not that he saw any of the money.
"My wife, she ended up getting that," Kerr laughed.
Chicago coach Phil Jackson admitted to having benefited from his association with the world's biggest sports cash cow, er, Bull.
"He's managed to line my pockets with a few pennies," said Jackson. "He's put my kids through college."
Jordan smiled at Tuesday's media session at the Delta Center when asked about the Fortune magazine study that says he's had such a huge impact on the economy through his endorsements, TV ratings, and sales of tickets, clothing, shoes and other merchandise.
"It's all speculation at this time," he grinned.
VIVA LAS VEGAS: When the Jazz swept the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals a week and a half ago, they spoiled Dennis Rodman's wish. The Worm, who
is extra wiggly in placid Salt Lake City, had hoped the Bulls would play L.A. if for no other reason than the city's proximity to Las Vegas.
Despite the longer flight - which amounts to all of 10 minutes or so - Rodman will again make the trip to Sin City as he did from Salt Lake several times during last year's Finals. His tentative plans have him leaving "sometime tomorrow, maybe Thursday," Rodman said Tuesday.
"I don't feel comfortable in Utah. It's not my scene," he added. "Hopefully I can go to Vegas for a couple of hours, relax and then come back and enjoy the series."
Rodman has his coach's blessing to leave, too.
"It's better than him hanging around this town and upsetting some Mormons, which he's already done," Jackson said, referring to the disparaging comments Rodman made last year. "Dennis needs that kind of activity to rest at night. If he doesn't get that, he's not going to rest, he's not going to sleep."
THE END IS NEAR: Kerr believes this will be the Bulls' final shot at winning a title with the current group of players and coaches.
"The fact is this is probably the last chance for most of us on this team," he said. "I don't expect this team to be back together again next year. If it's our last shot, it would be a lot more fun to go out a winner."
THE END ISN'T NEAR: Unlike the seemingly inevitable breaking up of the Bulls, Kerr doesn't anticipate the window of opportunity slamming on the Jazz's fingers for a few more years.
"I would think they would have another shot next year and maybe the year after," he said. "I wouldn't expect Karl Malone and (John) Stockton to all of a sudden not be very good basketball players next year."
Kerr smiled when a reporter asked if the Jazz could replace the Bulls on the NBA throne as the next dominating championship team.
"It's a little early to start talking dynasty," he said. "They need to win their first one."
NEW CHAMPIONS? YOU BETCHA: If it weren't illegal, Jackson might have the Vegas-bound Rodman place some money on Utah to win the championship series.
"They are rested, and I'd say if I was a betting man I would probably bet on the Jazz, too," he said, quickly adding with a wry smile, "if I didn't know anything about the Bulls."