Charlotte Bobcats™ © MJ Basketball Holdings, LLC

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Will MJ Follow Bob Johnson's Footsteps or Jerry Richardson's?

Postolos Posterized.

It’s official.  MJ came through in the clutch as he did time and time again during his playing days.  We all assumed that the George Postolos Group had the game wrapped up with just seconds to go on the clock but in a surprising turn of events, Jordan did to Postolos what he did to another geeky white guy 21 years ago – schooled him at the buzzer.  I’m not comparing Postolos to Craig Ehlo – the former Rockets president has a much more impressive resume – but we may have forgotten for a moment that we were dealing with the most competitive athlete in the history of professional sports.  MJ would NEVER have allowed himself to be outbid by a nerdy pencil pusher from Texas.  MJ posterized Postolos.

So Now What? (On the Court)

Massive changes would’ve occurred had the Postolos Group gained control the franchise.  Coach Larry Brown publicly announced earlier in the season that he’d walk away from the team (“preposterous!“) if MJ weren’t involved in the team’s ownership.  Friends of Mike featuring GM Rod Higgidy-Higgins and President Fred Whitfield would have certainly been cut loose.  There’s a great chance that Postolos would’ve rebuilt the roster as soon as this offseason, trading veterans for cap space and draft picks.

Now that Jordan is firmly in charge, it’s hard to imagine any major shift in philosophy from a basketball perspective.  Coach Brown will most likely honor his current contract and return next season.  The team will presumably retain its top veteran players and try to improve itself through trades and overlooked free agents during the summer.  Jordan has made most of the basketball decisions for the team since the summer of ’06 so we should know what to expect by now: Crappy Draft Picks (Morrison, Augustin), Quality Trades (Jackson, Diaw, Thomas), and So-So Free Agent Signings (Good: Gerald Wallace, Bad: Matt Carroll).

So Now What? (Off the Court)

This is the tricky part.  For the NBA to succeed in Charlotte, the team will need an owner who’s capable of conducting “Charlotte Business.”  You know, Good ‘ol BoyHow’s Yer Mama and Daddy – kind of business.  The kind that attracts big regional partnerships and sponsorships.  Very local, very social, very political, very congenial and (most importantly) very accessible.  I’m not so sure that MJ is any of these things quite yet.  Sure, he gets a partial-pass simply for being the greatest NBA player of all time and for being a local High School & Collegiate star but that only goes so far.  It reminds of another Nike superstar’s homecoming.

Don’t Pull a Tiger Woods (It’s not what you think)

My father’s side of the family is Thai-Chinese and in the early 90s golf became the leisure sport of choice in Thailand thanks in large part due to the country’s sunny, tropical climate, low labor cost and (relatively) low real estate values.  Wealthy Japanese businessmen could fly into Bangkok, shoot a few rounds of golf, take in a few days at a luxury resort and be back in Osaka or Tokyo by Monday morning all for less money than playing a single round in The Land of the Rising Sun.  As a kid I saw my father’s wealthy Thai friends begin to emulate the Japanese golfers and then a few years later the middle class jumped in and all of a sudden Thailand was golf-crazy. 
CUT TO:
Around the turn of the millenium the greatest golfing talent the world has ever witnessed shows up on the scene and miraculously (seemingly by the grace of the bodhisatva Ben Hogan) he is half-Thai.  So Tiger Woods visits Bangkok and is fawned over by all and bestowed every honor available in the Siamese book and the people love him.  For about a year.  Maybe two.  Nowadays nobody even really talks about.  He’s just the dude who wears expensive Tag watches and bangs a bunch of chicks on the side.  So what.  All rich Thai guys do that.

Tiger missed out on becoming a national hero because he didn’t become part of the community.  He didn’t attempt to learn the language, the culture, teach or coach young Thai golfers — nothing.  He just showed up, picked up a huge check from the local golf promoters and said “sawadee – peace out.”

Michael Jordan is a global icon but is going to have to learn to do local.  It’s like one of those hackneyed Hollywood star vehicles in which the city folk have to “rough it” in the country – only to find that the small town life is what they were after all along.  Jordan is going to have to kiss babies and go to mega (and mini) churches and speak with local business groups and donate to local charities.  And unlike George Shinn, Jordan is going to have to be genuine about it.  The good news is that MJ has a model to follow just down the street from The Cable Box.  Jerry Richardson is another former athlete who has succeeded as a business entrepreneur and a professional sports owner.

The Ballad of Bob & Jerry

I walked into the Dilworth Harris Teeter just hours before the Bobcats made their ’06-’07 debut at the then unnamed Uptown Arena.  As I hit the snack aisle, Bob Johnson walks past.  I quickly turn to offer a few words of encouragement but before I can open my mouth he’s bolted off to the frozen foods.  This was strange because A.) We Clearly made Eye Contact and B.) I was dressed in FULL BOBCATS gear that included an authentic Bobcats Warmup, Bobcats Beanie and Primoz Brezec jersey.  Keep in mind that this was during a time in which most Charlotteans didn’t even know what the Bobcats were and couldn’t tell Brevin Knight apart from Urkle.
By chance, I walked past him two more times and finally ended up standing behind him at the checkout line.  The friendly HT checkout person tried chatting him up southern-style.  “Bob Johnson!  How are you doing sir!  Got a big game tonight.  Wish you the best!”  Johnson acknowledged her with a grunt and an uncomfortable smile, shoved some money in the cashier’s hand and then made a B-Line for the chauffuered Mercedes getaway car screeching to a halt immediately to the left of those vile, bourgeois tinted automatic exit doors.  The man seemed less sour than he seemed borderline autistic.

Contrast this to a chance encounter I had with Mr. Richardson outside of a Joseph A. Bank in South Charlotte.  Mr. Richardson rose gently from the driver’s seat of a vintage luxury sedan, pulled a couple of plastic covered suits from the back seat and limped into the shop.  I caught him on the sidewalk and quickly thanked him for his contribution to the city.  Richardson thanked me in return for supporting the team and continued along his way.  That’s all it took.  I care about basketball around two hundred times more than I care about football but I’ll always follow the Panthers because the owner is a class act.  Stories like these abound.  In an opinionated age in which most sports owners are viewed as an obstacle between fan and team success, Jerry Richardson is beloved.

MJ would be wise to take note: Be like Jerry, not like Bob.

–ASChin


POLL : NEW OWNER - AIR JORDAN

  • Great For Charlotte
    (57%, 51 Votes)
  • Postolos = Better Option
    (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Not a Big Change
    (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Good Bye Bob Johnson
    (25%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 89

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10 Responses to “Charlotte Bobcats™ © MJ Basketball Holdings, LLC”

  1. carter
    February 26, 2010 at 11:47 pm #

    I won the "Movin' On Up" promotion where they choose a couple from the shitty seats and move them up to court-side. We sat next to Bob Johnson for the entire game and he never said a word to us. He even gave Rufus a dirty look when he sat on my lap. What a jerk.

    I did meet Mutumbo and Brevin Knight who were both very nice and had Yao's enormous ass in my face every time he wanted to talk to a ref during a break. Awesome.

  2. reggie
    February 27, 2010 at 6:17 am #

    i STILL cant tell Brevin Knight from Urkle.

    but im questioning the move as of right now. i really think that Postolos would be better suited to own an NBA team. i just think that this (in due time) will be another mistake in Bobcats history. nothing against MJ, but as stated in the blog, i dont see any chance of radical change in the organization. the team is clearly in "win now" mode, and thats never a good thing.

    want to see our future? look on the bench. WAYYYYYYYY down the bench.

  3. G-Money
    February 27, 2010 at 9:25 am #

    Very insightful commentary. Reminds me of all the celebrity owners of the Dolphins now – Williams sisters, J.Lo, etc who fly into town, get some photo ops, and zoom out.

    How bad can MJ be? Look how successful he left the Wizards…. Oh, dang… never mind.

  4. Jody
    February 27, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    I see this as a lateral move frankly. Trivia? How soon will MJ bet the ownership of the Bobcats in a high stakes poker room in AC? Good riddance to Bob Johnson though. He never even bothered to make his presence known in Charlotte except for hosting horse jumping events because his daughter is all into that shit. By the way AS CHIN, some of your blog sounded a lot like Ron Green Sr. to me. “Down by Crackleberry Creek, catching them fish, and frying em’ up. MMMMM!!!”

  5. mike15
    February 28, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Keeping it all in perspective, the team can only benefit from the competition for ownership. Some fans are kept rooting for a team with a horrible owner that freezes them in mediocrity or worse. Bobcats fans were lucky to learn that their team would see some sort of change, for better or for worse.

    Either way, the Bobcats were set for ownership improvement by Postolos' group or Jordan's crew. Having Jordan retain his level of involvement will make the transition a bit smoother. I can only imagine how the offices of potential corporate sponsors will drool over the chance to build a relationship with Michael Jordan (the childhood idol of probably every decision maker for such sponsorships and marketing alliances). Let's hope Jordan keeps up the hard work and builds the right, strategic relationships for the support and money the team will need until the fickle Charlotte fans see a solid winning club on the court.

    Right now, we should be concerned over the involvement of Nelly going forward. He was very visible during the inaugural season and has since rarely shown his face. Perhaps, he no longer considers those sideline seats "My Place." Surely, the unresolved state of the sale was quite a "Dilemma." Still, let's hope that Air Jordan expressed how important "Country Grammer" is the for Charlotte area.

  6. jeremy
    February 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    MJ might change the name, look on Charlotte Observer.

  7. Lamar
    February 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    I agree as far as the need for MJ to make a presence at the games. It would make a huge impact if he would just let his face be seen in the lobby and shake hands before the games. For the past three years I've came to every home game and can only remember him being in town on average four times and those being big games. (Cavs and Lakers)

  8. claymon porter
    October 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    i would like to contact someone in regards to a idea i have for a mj commercial that would entail players that were in the nba during his career that didn't win a championship.

  9. rare beanie babies
    November 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    Great blog! I dont think Ive seen all the angles of this subject the way youve pointed them out. Youre a true star, a rock star man. Youve got so much to say and have a lot of knowledge about the subject that I think you should just teach a class about it…HaHa!

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