Michael Jordan is, fittingly, poised to become the first former NBA player to own majority stake in a NBA team. David Stern is playing the part of excited league commissioner.
My first reaction is to be honestly excited. For Michael and for the Bobcats players who are likely to see a lot more of the GOAT. Like at shootaround this morning when Jordan walked onto the court in jeans and challenged second string guard Gerald Henderson to a game of HORSE. Not sure how much the trash-talk and the competitiveness help anymore, but just being there and showing a genuine interest ought to help. Now if he would show an interest in the ticket-takers and the marketers and the janitors the way Mark Cuban did when he took over in Dallas… that would be something.
“We have been anticipating an agreement for transfer of a majority interest in the Bobcats and are pleased it has occurred,” Stern said in a statement. “Bob Johnson brought the excitement of the NBA back to Charlotte and I am certain that as Michael Jordan returns to his home state as the principal owner of the Bobcats the team will continue its growth as a success on the court, as a business success and as a valued community asset.”
Behind the excitement though, there’s a queasy question that trawls around my mind in this change of ownership. How long has the shark in Jordan been planning this take over? Has he NOT been around the team as much as he could because he didn’t want the team to be at its most popular? If he wanted to bottom out the price of the team, that would be the way to do it. He may come in now, change the team mascot to a Jumpman and the team name to the Charlotte Jordans, show up for every home game, and get to work. Did he tank the team to make it easier to take over? I’m not even sure that would be necessary or helpful, but it makes me a little uneasy.
I’m not one to buy the notion of Michael Jordan as a supervillian, which is the new media counter-culture view (encouraged in large part by his cutthroat Hall of Fame induction speech). He is the Make-A-Wish Ambassador and all. On the other hand, we did all worship his ability to be a ruthless killer on the court.
I hope Jordan does run the team the way he played the game, better than everybody else. I hope he commits to making the Charlotte Bobcats every bit as impeccable and dominant as he once made the Chicago Bulls. I even hope he’s doing it for the right reason.