He made everyone around him better.

Nazr Mohammed, Bulls center who played for Jordan in Charlotte and a native Chicagoan

When he came back and went to Washington, I got the chance to play against him when he worked out at Hoops the Gym. That was unbelievable. I was like, 'What the hell? This is crazy. I'm playing pickup and hanging out with Michael Jordan?' For a kid from Chicago it was a dream come true.

Donyell Marshall, former Bulls forward who also played against Jordan

I have two pictures framed on my wall. They're both of MJ guarding me when he switched on to me on a pick-and-roll when I played for Golden State. I scored both times and tell people, 'Jordan couldn't stop me.' But seriously, I remember another time his first or second year back from playing baseball and we were up like 30 and Phil Jackson just sat there, not calling timeout. MJ just took over that game and they beat us by like 10. I remember thinking, ''I wish I wasn't playing and could watch this performance on TV.'' That's how good it was.

John Paxson, Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations and former teammate

When we were close to winning our first championship in 1991, he was approached to do the famous "I'm going to Disney World" commercial if we won. Michael told them he would only do it if the other starters were included in everything financially. To do that, he couldn't say the famous line on the court in Los Angeles because it would be impossible to get us all together in the chaos of winning. So we did it in the locker room at the Forum and Scottie, Horace (Grant), Bill (Cartwright) and myself were included because Michael wanted it that way. That says everything about him.

Gregg Popovich, Spurs coach

The first time I saw him, I was in awe. I remember sitting there (as an assistant next to Larry Brown) and I couldn't take my eyes off him. I didn't watch anything else on the court. I didn't even come close to trying to do any kind of job for Larry that night. I just stared at Michael.

Stacey King, Bulls broadcaster and former teammate

Cleveland brought Gerald Wilkins in to be the Jordan stopper. He was doing a lot of talking the game before, how he had great success guarding MJ, that he didn't need help, yada, yada. So at shootaround, Jordan was reading the newspaper on the way to arena and he kept saying, ''Jordan stopper? Yeah, we'll see.'' He went out and torched him for like 40. And he kept talking during the game, ''Where's the Jordan stopper?''

Scottie Pippen, Bulls ambassador and former teammate

The flu game (in the'97 Finals) had to be one of his greatest performances, knowing how down he was and might not be able to play. To have that type of game was amazing. But I saw it happen so many times. People talk about Willis Reed, but I think Michael definitely topped that one. I remember carrying him off that night. I just kept telling him, ''Get us through it.''

Reinsdorf, on honoring his contract

Of course I respected that, but that was the deal we made. That's why when he went to baseball I paid him his basketball salary. I told him I had had too good a deal with him. That was my way of rewarding him.

Bob Rosenberg, longtime Bulls official scorer

March 26, 1993. My wife died. I'm going down to the locker room. Michael and B.J. Armstrong pulled me aside and asked me if I needed help. Also, the All-Star Game in 1988. He says to me after the game, ''Why didn't you tell me I was two points short of (Wilt) Chamberlain?'' I said, ''Look, every time you went by, I kept putting up two fingers. You didn't understand that?''

Pam Kunkel, supervisor of Bulls game operations since 1974

This was after the fourth championship. We're sending stats all over the United Center. It's 1:30. I (had to) tromp down to the locker room to find a team official and Michael was just coming out. What do you say to Michael Jordan? I said, ''Congratulations.'' I'm, like, nobody in the scheme of things. And he said, ''Congratulations to you too. I know this is your fourth championship too.'' And then he kissed me on the cheek.

Charles Barkley, TNT broadcaster and Hall of Fame opponent