- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2002

Michael Jordan didn't end the Washington Wizards' five-year playoff drought, but he did lead the team to the best attendance figures in franchise history.

The Wizards reported 41 home sellouts in the 2001-02 season and 847,634 fans an average of 20,674 a game for a franchise record. The previous record was 30 home sellouts during the 1994-95 season when they were the Washington Bullets and playing their games at the Capital Centre/USAir Arena, which was built in 1973 and held 18,756.

With Jordan in the lineup the Wizards surpassed the previous mark March 5 against Chicago.

During the 2000-01 season the Wizards drew 638,653 for home games for an average of 15,577. They sold out MCI Center seven times.

All told, the Wizards played all but three games home and away in front of sold-out arenas. The arenas that the Wizards did not sell out were Charlotte Coliseum, Continental Airlines Arena (New Jersey) and the Arena (Golden State). Jordan, who appeared in 60 of a possible 82 games, missed those three games because of injury.

Only the Lakers averaged better attendance on the road (20,103 to 19,939) than the Wizards.

Yao impresses Unseld

Washington Wizards general manger Wes Unseld walked away from Chinese center Yao Ming's one-hour workout impressed with what he saw.

"I was much more impressed than I had anticipated," Unseld said.

The workout was open to team officials from the league's 29 teams and media. Yao, 21, is expected to be one of the top three players selected in the June 26 NBA Draft.

Yao, who played for the Shanghai Sharks in China, is 7-foot-5 and listed at 236 pounds. Last season he averaged 32.4 points.

On Wednesday Yao worked with 7-2 Oregon center Chris Christofferson. He showed a nice shooting touch and, according to Unseld, "exhibited good footwork" for a player his size. However, there were times during the workout when Yao looked exhausted. He often stopped and rested.

Unseld, like others in attendance, wondered how Yao would fair in a game, something the workout could not measure.

"That's just something, the intangibles, that you just can't measure when a player is on the court by himself. But his skills were impressive," Unseld said.

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