What If George Postolos Owned The Bobcats?

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Postolos giving Gerald Wallace financial advice

Way back in February, the future ownership of the Bobcats was on a teeter-totter with Michael Jordan and former Houston Rockets President George Postolos on opposite sides. While Postolos had more funds, MJ had a friendly relationship with Bob. As such, I didn’t even think Jordan would get the team. I figured Postolos’ advantage in funds would overcome whatever favoritism Bob Johnson had for Jordan. However it did not, as after Postolos made his final offer, Johnson gave MJ “one last shot,” which Jordan was more than eager to jump on (ESPN).

The rest was history: Jordan became the first former player to own an NBA team; he sat courtside for just about every game, including the playoffs; he led a community-centered tour throughout North Carolina, and yada yada yada.

However, seeing as how incredibly close this team was to being George Postolos’, I couldn’t help but wonder what this team and organization would look like under George Postolos.

Coaching and Other Staff

  • Larry Brown would be gone – Sources had said that George Postolos was prepared to clean house if Jordan couldn’t raise the necessary capital to buy the team. Due to this, it was reported that LB was looking into finding other teams willing to offer him a job in case Larry was let go, including the Clippers (SLAM).
  • Coaching staff – I’m not going to lay out my whole thoughts about Larry Brown here, but I will say it seems he’s past his prime and at times even uninterested. Had Postolos bought the team and cleaned house, we would have needed to get a new coach. The odds for getting a coach better than LB would have seemed bad but in hindsight, it might have been a better option than keeping him, based on what we’ve seen of our Bobcats so far. I would have been completely in favor of Avery Johnson. Byron Scott would probably have been next on the list, or even Tom Thibodeau. While the pool of replacements would be somewhat deep in talent at the top (those mentioned above, Jeff Van Gundy, Doug Collins) there’s a drop off and who knows who would have possibly come out of the woodwork for the head coaching spot (Paul Silas? Allan Bristow?)
  • Other staff (scouts, etc.) – I would expect Postolos to get top notch talent as far as scouts and other staff members, not to mention those in the front office. It is a widely known fact that Jordan often favors his buddies when it comes to job openings (see Higgins, Rod) and while the Bobcats have proven lately to be trade aficionados, they have never been good at drafting. Seeing as how drafting well is most often a must for a franchise, I would expect Postolos to grab some excellent talent.

General Outlook

  • Commitment to the future and not the present – Sometimes I tend to get the feeling that Jordan is in a half-assed form of a “Win Now” mode. He obviously does not want to lose money on a yearly basis like his predecessor, so he knows this team has to win to bring in revenue. This means he has to spend money to bring in some good players. But he can’t spend too much money or the team would go over the luxury tax level, requiring him to pay even more money. So he brings in some mediocre players to fill some holes in the roster while having more than a considerable amount of salary tied up in veteran contracts. However, with Postolos steering the ship, I think he would be okay with getting rid of some terrible contracts in favor of gaining cap space for the future. That would mean trading Tyson Chandler, Boris Diaw and/or maybe Stephen Jackson (maybe even Diop in conjunction with one of those players if we were lucky) to be able to rid the team of some bad contracts. I believe Postolos’ bigger bank account would allow him to be okay with losing now and being a better team in the future. In other words, it would be putting off minor success in the present for possibly even better results in the future.

The Team/Players

  • While Postolos is probably no Mark Cuban in terms of his wallet size, I think he would be more committed to building a team that would have a greater chance for success in the future resulting from a rebuilding process. As well as drafting well, this means ridding the team of bad contracts. If Postolos’ staff acts how I think they would be instructed, which is à la the late Supersonics/early Thunder, we might have seen a big trade where we dump one of our top players as well as one of our lousy contracts for young talent, a huge expiring contract and/or a good draft pick. Raymond Felton would not have been offered a new contract; Gerald Henderson and D.J. Augustin would have been given extensions just like they have gotten. Overall, we’d most likely be looking at an ugly-to-watch, young Carolina Panthers-esque basketball team.

The Team’s Image and Marketability

  • One of the great things Jordan has done for the Bobcats is that he has made them more visible than ever. By that, I don’t mean that the team is visible on more televisions, because I don’t get them on my T.V., like many people in the Carolinas. Rather, I mean that there is a lot more national interest in the team now. After it was announced that Jordan was to become majority owner, some fantastic things happened. The team got 40 new corporate sponsors, renewed 91% of season ticket holders and sold 1,575 new season tickets (Charlotte Observer). In addition, the purchase of the team gave the Bobcats more time on national television. Jordan was giving interviews on NBA TV and TNT, not to mention on whatever Fox Sports affiliate they are shown on. No one can even act like Postolos buying the team would get anywhere near the same response. Example: name the two men that the Golden State Warriors were sold to. Unless you’re a huge NBA junkie or a Warriors fan, in all likelihood you probably didn’t know the new owners are Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. The simple fact is that unless your owner is eccentric or famous, they’re not getting a lot of attention. And when your owner is (arguably) the greatest basketball player of all time, the team is going to get more attention than ever – from fans, locals, business, sponsors, the media – you name it. Postolos just can’t get the job done in the same regard. However, as his track record shows, he is excellent at maintaining good community relations with the organization. But Jordan is no slouch in this category either,  as shown by his 2010 Summer World (read: state) Tour, where he traveled across the state, making stops at Fort Bragg and talking to schoolchildren. He also donated a cool quarter mil to help fund middle school sports. Neat.

I don’t think either owner is a bad choice and honestly, I’m not sure which I’d prefer. On the one hand, if Postolos’ organization would act how I think they would act, they could make winning a more long term plan but at the expense of the present. On the other hand, Jordan would have the team try to win now. Jordan’s method of retaining most of the current roster, which would probably have more talent than Postolos’, would build up a bigger fanbase in the present, which could make it easier on the team later on when they undoubtedly have to rebuild (I just didn’t think it would be so soon). The possible Postolos plan could alienate and exasperate fans, both ones that were so happy to get to the playoffs and fans on the fence by sending off our best players to free up our books. It’s a tough decision that I’m glad I don’t have to make.

But don’t feel bad for George Postolos. He is reportedly interested in buying the Pistons and if that doesn’t go down, he’ll still be a really, really rich man trying to buy an NBA team. So he’s got that going for him.

- Cardboard Gerald

Michael Jordan’s Passion for Motorcycle Racing on ESPN’s E:60

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From our friends at ESPN:

ESPN’s award-winning primetime newsmagazine E:60 will examine former NBA star Michael Jordan’s passion for motorcycle racing in the episode airing Tuesday, May 4, at 7 p.m. ET. In an E:60 exclusive, Jordan talks with ESPN’s Hannah Storm and grants unprecedented access to a side of him few have ever seen.

Two weeks before the deal was completed that made Jordan the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, another ownership dream for the 47-year-old was realized; one unrelated to basketball. At Daytona International Speedway, Jordan earned his first win as a team owner on the American Motorcycle Association’s premier Superbike circuit.

In 2004, less than a year after playing his final NBA game, Jordan formed Michael Jordan Motorsports. Now in his sixth season of Superbike competition, the top motorcycle road-racing class in the US, Jordan’s persistence, commitment, and competitive drive has led the team to the top spot on the podium.

Jordan’s obsession with motorcycles extends beyond the owner’s box. He’s also a passionate rider. After retiring from the NBA in 2003, free from NBA contract restrictions that prohibited him from riding, Jordan had an encounter a gas station in a local Chicago neighborhood that changed everything. Shortly thereafter, he was riding fearlessly through the streets of Chicago, at death-defying speeds. Some excerpt quotes:

Hannah Storm – How long did you think it would take to get your first win?
Michael Jordan – Knowing me, I wanted to win the first year. But I knew, mechanically I didn’t have the right equipment to win, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hope for some type of win. I want to say that I committed my time and my energy into this sport and I want to be able to win a championship at the highest level. You know, where I’m competing against the Suzukis, the Yamahas, all the other different manufacturers.

Storm – When you were riding through the streets of Chicago at night …what was that like?

Jordan – Well at first it was scary because I probably was doing some things that I probably shouldn’t have been doing in terms of speed. It was fun. It was exhilarating obviously. At certain times, some of the speeds that I was going on the streets that I was going, they were not quite safe. I think on one straightaway we got up to like 157, which, now thinking about it, I must have been nuts.

ESPN’s E:60, which launched in October 2007, combines investigative reporting, in-depth profiles of intriguing sports personalities and features on emerging star athletes. These stories are presented in a fresh and innovative format that incorporates producer/correspondent meetings.

-ASChin

Questions Arrive With The Bobcats Off-Season

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Larry-Leaving

What Is Next For This Team?

Bobcats Baseline has spent the past few days adjusting to life without Bobcats basketball and wondering what topics should be explored after the end of the team’s 2009-2010 campaign. There will be a more fitting time, deeper into the post-season,  to review the team’s outlook.  A summer of recuperating and Bobcats-detox should allow for a better perspective on the situation. So now, we can only address the questions that stare the team in the face.

For a little while,  the Bobcats have been given some down time. The players will rest up, the management will check out, the beat writers will go silent, yet the bloggers will just keep typing up speculations. Who will leave?  Who will stay?  Who will win?

The Big Question

Rumblings of next season’s big changes have already begun. More specifically, the rumblings about a change of scenery for Bobcats Coach Larry Brown. First, they were just online reports from inconsistent sources such as Yahoo! Sports or a blogger for a regional newspaper’s web site. Somehow, these built up enough steam to become common assumptions spread by national television commentators and the common Charlotte-area sports fan. From your co-worker that loves to hear (and repeat) bad news about the Bobcats to golf fans at the Quail Hollow tournament, so many folks around the area have asked “Is Larry Brown going to leave Charlotte?”

It doesn’t seem like too many people know what will be next for Coach Brown. One doesn’t usually follow their boss around the golf course before quitting the job. Then again, one doesn’t usually make such an effort to answer a simple question with loophole-laden remarks like “I’m not going to coach for anyone but Michael.” Ultimately, there’s really nothing the team can do about this situation other than just play it cool. This is something that Jordan is very capable of handling.

If Brown decides to leave the team, the Bobcats will be in a scramble for a new coach and will likely follow with additional personnel changes.  This would allow the team to shift their roster to fit the new coach’s preferences, but  probably not a drastic overhaul. It would be assumed that Jordan hired Brown to install a type of “system” for the Bobcats and the next head coach would be expected to practice a variation of the current system.  Beyond the coaching change, the steady player personnel changes will continue. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that GM Rod Higgins won’t see his job get easier any time soon. With Larry Brown or without Larry Brown, the Bobcats will continue to rework their roster.

Roster Changes

The coaching situation certainly impacts the next roster moves for the Bobcats. Still, the team will be forced to make a couple of important decisions regarding free agent veterans Raymond Felton, Larry Hughes, and Theo Ratliff. As the free agent season activity heats up, there will be plenty more to analyze about these moves – the toughest being the status of Raymond Felton.

Beyond free agency, this team will likely be involved in trade talks to shift their financial obligations for future opportunities.  Fans should hope that this won’t impact the overall level of talent on the roster next season.

No Draft For The Cats

The Bobcats have no selections in this summer’s NBA Draft. At first, this seems like a bad thing. But, we have to consider that this is the Charlotte Bobcats organization. The only opportunity this team will be missing without Draft picks is the opportunity to fail. Charlotte has decided that they aren’t going to let you look back at the Bobcats in three years, and ridicule them for not selecting some under-the-radar prospect. They’ve traded their picks, and now we’ll see what they get for them.  As compensation for no newcomers from the Draft, Charlotte will work to test the young Alexis Ajinca (1st round pick traded to Denver in 2008 Draft) and retain fellow Frenchman Boris Diaw (2nd round pick traded to Phoenix with Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley for Raja Bell and Diaw last season).

Additionally, the Bobcats have two 2009 rookies that have hardly found playing time. It could be argued that these players (with a year of NBA experience) are as valuable, and as ready to contribute as almost every lottery pick in the upcoming Draft. If the team doesn’t expect playing time to open-up for one of these young talents, it’s likely their value will be worked into a trade to help the team in the future.

In Perspective

While the Round 1 series sweep surely burns, the Cats shouldn’t overlook what was accomplished this season. The team executed one of the best defenses in the league, set a home winning record, and a franchise record for wins at 44-38. The team’s early exit from the Playoffs was largely due to the incredible play of the Orlando Magic, who serve as a fine example for what makes a true NBA title contender. Charlotte was able to match Orlando defensively, but Jameer Nelson and company excelled with a superb offense. For the Bobcats, their first Playoff series was simply a “Welcome to the Post-Season” kind of hurdle for a young franchise.

In the case that the leadership or the roster undergoes major changes this off-season, the team should be proud of the big leap they made.  As a losing club for five years, the Bobcats had suffered through such slow, incremental attempts at progress. The 2009-2010 season finally marked a winning season. Yes, the Bobcats were winners. It really happened. So, let’s hope it continues to happen for a while.

Links:

Larry Brown’s End of Season Press Conference – Charlotte Observer

NBA Draft 2010 (Mock Draft)

Bobcats’ Brown Continues Mulling Future – ESPN.com

Leave Larry Brown Behind Forever – Phil Sheridan, Philly.com Sports

Maybe The Bobcats Know What They’re Doing?

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no-iverson

Fans Felt That Allen Iverson Was The Answer.

Coach Larry Brown, Owner Michael Jordan, and GM Rod Higgins just might be smart enough to run an NBA team.

Before the start of the season, almost anyone with a casual awareness of the Charlotte Bobcats had an opinion about the possible addition of Allen Iverson. Days before Iverson signed a contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, steady rumors streamed the possibility that The Answer would reunite with Coach Larry Brown in Charlotte or find a spot with the Heat in Miami.

As the Bobcats headed into their training camp, Charlotte’s local media covered the news to capitalize on the buzz around the first relevant player to ever be associated with the Bobcats. Several sites (like this one) relayed each syllable of news related to the potential signing. Steadily, the predictably Charlottean (risk-averse, investment-minded) reaction toward Iverson’s “attitude problem” was pushed to the side by basketball fans wanting to see a star-caliber player that would entertain them with his on-court merits. While the public opinion may have been swayed, the Bobcats front office wasn’t. Reader polls may have shown that the serious ‘Cats enthusiasts wanted A.I. over team chemistry, but Larry Brown and company seemed to think otherwise.

Best Answer = No Answer

For a few weeks, Coach Brown delivered a consistent and diplomatic response when asked about the potential signing of Iverson, telling reporters that he didn’t think they could give him a respectable offer. Most of us didn’t see it at the time, but Brown was making it clear that the Bobcats were not going to sign Allen Iverson. Perhaps, it was entirely based upon Larry’s past experience coaching Allen in Philadelphia that told him that it wasn’t the right move for his team. Maybe, Rod Higgins and Michael Jordan dialed friends around the league (Detroit or Denver) and learned something that negated any marketing buzz that Iverson would have delivered to Charlotte. Despite the factors that affected their judgement to pass on the NBA’s 6th all-time scorer for a bargain contract, no one could have expected how the year would unravel for Iverson.

Fans from sites like this one, with much generous wisdom to share, would have ordered Bobcats GM Rod Higgins to draw up a contract for Allen Iverson on the first day of free agency. Instead, the team passed on the 34 yr-old shooting guard at the end of the summer. As the season began, Charlotte’s offense looked absolutely horrible. The Bobcats were on pace to become historically inept at scoring. At that early stretch of the season, The Answer seemed to be the obvious piece missing on the team. Quickly, Charlotte saved their season with a brilliant trade for another “difficult” shooting guard in Stephen Jackson, a player that brought the offensive skillset that the team lacked and the defense effort that Larry Brown required.

Disintegration may be a good term to summarize the contrasting situation for Iverson. Just as the talking heads warned, A.I. stepped into the Fedex Forum after signing with the Memphis Grizzlies and rubbed everyone the wrong way. The owner had several one-on-one meetings to discuss the situation and Iverson took a leave from the team nearly a week after the start of the season. Days later we was released, the Memphis marriage was annulled and the Grizzlies seemed improve right away. Briefly, Allen went into a short lived retirement. A good bit of the season passed before Iverson’s agent was able to secure a contract for the nearly untouchable player. Philadelphia brought A.I. back for a homecoming and the fans loved the story of his return. Unfortunately, the Sixers continued to struggle and Iverson performed like half the player he had been before. Injuries and family issues kept him away from the team at the mid-season mark. Although he had been voted in as an All-Star, Iverson declined to play so that he could tend to a family matter (presumably a child’s illness). Surprisingly, Allen had made his way to Charlotte for the CIAA tournament and after-parties rather than family matters during this stretch.  Then, in early March, Iverson left the 76ers and news reports surfaced that his wife had filed for divorce on the same day. Philadelphia Inquirer’s Stephen A. Smith, who is said to be a fan of  The Answer, wrote an article to publicly out Allen’s gambling and alcohol issues a week later.

It’s tough to hear about how the news and private information all went public so quickly, but it’s likely that this was the culmination of a pattern of troubled behavior. It just might be that the guys in charge of running Charlotte’s NBA franchise  had just enough familiarity with Allen Iverson to keep themselves out of harm’s way.

Links:

Bobcat’s Jordan Said No To Bringing In Iverson (Yahoo! Sports)

Charlotte Still An Option For Iverson (Summer 2009)

Allen Iverson & Bobcats Team Chemistry

Iverson Needs More Than a Prayer (Stephen A. Smith)

Iverson Going Through Tough Times (Yahoo! Sports)

Wikipedia – Allen Iverson

Michael Jordan Speaks For First Time As Bobcats Owner

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video courtesy WCNC

The Michael Jordan media blitz has begun.  The first interview was posted this morning on bobcats.com, along with a “behind the scenes” gallery of pics.  Then this afternoon, Jordan held his first press conference.

Similar to the Bobcats performance last night against the Thunder, Jordan had a bit of a rough start with some awkward and often redundant opening comments (is it really a dream come true?).  But by the time he took questions from the assembled media, Jordan found his footing.

He affirmed that he will be more involved as controlling owner than he ever was as a minority owner, commenting to the effect of “I can’t afford not to be.”

Jordan even warned us about the inevitable nepotism that occurs when the patriarch owns a business, saying that he hoped we’d get to know his children and that they’d eventually take a role within the organization.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet the new Bobcats advance scout Jeffrey Jordan!

In all seriousness, I liked what Jordan had to say.  These initial sentiments, along with the Bobcats having won 7 of their last 8 in the midst of securing their first playoff berth, have the Michael Jordan era off to a good start for the Bobcats.

Bonus

Stephen Jackson is apparently in studio with Kenny, Charles and EJ for Magic/Heat and Nuggets/Hornets on TNT NBA Thursday tonight.  Jack’s going mainstream!

And Jordan also filmed a one-on-one interview today with Stephanie Ready that will air on tomorrow night’s telecast of the Bobcats @ Hawks matchup.

UPDATE: Check that, Jack will apparently be on Inside the NBA, the postgame show on TNT late tonight after the Nuggets/Hornets matchup.

-Dr. E

Michael Jordan to Appear on CBS’s “Undercover Boss”

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I'm a Boss!

In an effort to improve his “company” and get to know his new “employees”, Charlotte Bobcats Owner-Elect, Michael Jordan will infiltrate his workforce during an upcoming episode of Undercover Boss.

The new CBS reality series follows high level corporate executives as they slip anonymously into the “lowest level” jobs within their companies. Once undercover, they get their hands dirty among their rank to find out what their employees REALLY think of them and learn about themselves in the process.

Michael Jordan will be going undercover as a Bobcats player.

So how will the best player in history remain anonymous on the court?

  1. He will come off the bench. No one will recognize the guy if he’s not in the starting line-up.
  2. Jordan will don jersey number “00”  with the name on the back simply reading “STAFF”.
  3. His Airness will also wear a Rip Hamilton face mask (subliminally cross-promoting Rip’s Jordan Brand sneakers).
  4. Jordan will also wear a pair of goofy glasses.

The obvious ulterior motive of Jordan’s appearance on the show is get his team into the playoffs. By going undercover, he is sure to improve workforce morale by scaring Gerald Wallace, Gerald Henderson, and Stephen Jackson into thinking that their jobs are in jeopardy.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

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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