03/30/1999 at 12:00 AM EST

Former Chicago Bull superstar Michael Jordan is considering a return to the National Basketball Association -- this time as a partial owner of a league franchise. Michael, who announced his retirement in January, has talked with Charlotte (N.C.) Hornets owner George Shinn about purchasing a share of the team, the NBA has confirmed. Added Shinn (who helped bring an NBA franchise to Charlotte in 1988 but has come under pressure from fans and media to sell the under-producing team): "Our hope over the next few meetings is to work out a partnership that will benefit the Hornets and the entire community." Jordan, a native of the Tar Heel state, starred collegiately at the University of North Carolina.

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