The Biology of Belief: A Michael Jordan Comeback?

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The Bobcats Are In Need of a Scorer.  Is Michael Jordan the Answer?

Can MJ pull a Stallone?

Henry Abbott over at ESPN.com’s TrueHoop has posted an intriguing piece on the plausibility of a Michael Jordan comeback.

MJ, after all, started all of this chatter a couple of weeks ago when he made the following comments during his Hall of Fame induction speech:

“One day you might look up and see me playing the game at 50. Don’t laugh. Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”

Abbott cites the story of Jure Robic, a Slovenian cyclist (no relation to Primoz Brezec) who has repeatedly won races by doing things a little different.  Robic ignores common human frills like “sleeping” and “eating” in order to speed past his competition.  (One of the side effects of this strategy is that Robic temporary goes insane, accusing mailboxes of terrorism, going on rampages in his neighborhood, etc.)  Abbott goes on to say that:

Some researchers argue that the body may be able to perform far more than we ever imagined — if you can trick your brain into letting the muscles do the work. The limits that were once thought to reside in the muscles are now, some researchers say, really in the mind.

None of this is news to those of us who’ve studied alternative medicine, integrated medicine or spontaneous healing.  Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of the book “The Biology of Belief” has put forth these claims for over a decade.  Lipton believes that the “programming” of stem cells, in fact, is a subliminal request from the subconscious mind to the body – meaning that whatever is on your mind (whether it be athletic dominance or cancer), your body will attempt to fulfill.  So if Robic can program his body to reject sleep and food while he cycles 3,000 miles across North America, could a 46-year old, similarly delusional Michael Jordan play at a high level for an entire 82 game season?

Abbott is inconclusive in his post.  He calls up Attack Athletics (Jordan’s former trainers) and openly asks if a (near) 50 year old could play in the NBA.

In general, Procopio didn’t sound at all sure such an achievement was possible. But that was talking about athletes generally. Would Jordan — a man of unquestioned will — be subjected to the same limitations?
“Oh no no no no,” Procopio says. “I’m talking about everybody else.”

How is the unmeasurable defined?  How is Steve Nash more dominant than Sean Singletary?  How is Andre Miller more successful than Marcus Williams?  At what point would Jordan’s body be unable to perform the requests put forth by his mind?  Does that point even exist?

This past March I had the pleasure of traveling with some friends to a yoga and healing center in Kathmandhu.  My wife and I were bestowed the honor of staying in the “Sun Yogi” room – named so because it is where Sun Yogi stays when he’s in town.  I had met Sun Yogi about a year prior to this when he had visited Thailand, teaching his legendary “sun meditation” technique.  What is this legendary “sun meditation” technique, you might ask?  Well, it basically means that you don’t eat.  Ever.  You get your energy from the sun and Sun Yogi has purportedly not taken in a bite of food in over a decade.

As wonderful a human being as Sun Yogi is, I have to say that I wasn’t buying his story.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like he was built like Charlie Weis or anything – the dude’s rails thin – my mind just couldn’t accept it.  A human being has to eat…right?

Whether it be by material technology or esoteric belief systems, it can’t be denied that human beings (unlike the Bobcats) have made a great deal of progress since our inception.  Maybe Michael Jordan can come back and play meaningful minutes.  Maybe he can achieve it through new techniques in traditional medicine and athletic training.  Maybe he can achieve it through a series of Stallone-grade HGH treatments.  (Did anybody see Rocky Balboa or John Rambo?  That guy is ridiculously ripped and he’s only five years younger than Bobby Cox!  That said, imagine if Bobby Cox discovered HGH.  I can’t think of anything funnier right now…seriously, I’m gonna have to stop writing about it before I soil myself.)
Or maybe MJ can achieve all of this with his mind.

Wasn’t it R. Kelly (in a song from the “Space Jam” soundtrack nevertheless) who sang, “I believe I can fly…”

Alright, alright.  Enough of this hippy, positive attitude crap.  Lets get back to stuff that really matters, like the Charlotte Bobcats!

So lets say that this really happens.  Realistically, MJ is going to need another two or three months (at least) to get into shape so maybe he’s on the roster following the All-Star break.
I don’t think that you bring him off of the bench.  A guy that age will be too cold.  Get him started during warm-ups, start the game and play a total of 12-18 minutes a night.  I think MJ gives you at least 10ppg in that scenario and adds a serious weapon during crunch time.  Consequently his starting the game delays pretty much every away date by around seven or eight minutes due to a standing “O.”  MJ Bobcats jersey sales light up the merchandise numbers and Bob Johnson sees a sharp upgrade in the team’s market value.

MJ and the Cats - Post AllStar Break

The starting five is ideal for Jordan.  Diaw, Wallace, Chandler and Felton are all above-average defenders and the pace of Larry Brown’s offense benefits a 47-year old MJ (he turns a year older on Feb. 17th).  Chandler (and in reserve, Diop) can hang around the paint and clean up when MJ’s man blows past him on the perimeter.
On offense, the starters are ideal as well.  Six years ago, MJ scored 20ppg on 45% shooting while playing 37 minutes per game.  It is reasonable to think that Jordan could keep the high shooting percentage and rebound rate (6rpg) while playing limited minutes for the Bobcats in 2010.  The nice thing about having Jordan around late in the 4th quarter is that he gives you a “Specialist” type player who not only CAN hit the big shot when the team needs it but WANTS to hit the shot.  Think: A Middle-Aged Ben Gordon.  Coming out of a timeout with fifteen seconds on the clock, Jordan could still potentially be deadly.

The beauty with MJ starting is now you have two backup SGs (either Raja Bell or Gerald Henderson) to play starters minutes off of the bench or replace MJ entirely if he happens to miss any time due to injury.  So basically anything that Jordan gives you on the court (outside of marketing and attendance) is gravy.

Post MJ Lineup - 2nd Unit

Now I’m pumped!  This makes total sense.  Lets get this done.  Yes, it’s a circus but it would be so much goofy fun that it may let us all temporarily forget the pain of being a Charlotte Bobcats fan.

So MJ, put down that cigar and pick up some Macca Powder, Bee Pollen, Goat’s Yoghurt, Goji Berries and Spirulina.  Schedule a conference call with Deepak Chopra ASAP.  Call your girl Oprah, she knows him well.

MJ for MVP in 2010!

-A.S. Chin

Bobcats Ownership Update

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Rick Bonnell recently posted a vague but welcome update on the Bobcats ownership situation…

The team’s financial decisions – both large and small – have been put on hold. Sources inside and outside the franchise anticipate the ownership question being resolved in the next two weeks.

The “question” being whether former Houston Rockets president George Postolos and his group of investors can stir up the dough to give Bobcat Johnson his just compensation.

Bobcats fans stand in waiting.

Update # 1:
Kelly Dwyer of (Yahoo! Sports) Ball Don’t Lie wrote a summary of the Bob Johnson era. Read it here.

Update # 2 :

Rick Bonnell delivered a new post on his (CharlotteObserver.com) blog about Bob Johnson possibly pulling the organization off the market.  Is he really going to hold onto this team?  Has Europe changed him?  Perhaps, Bonnell is only being fed a story to assist in his negotiations.  Then again, that’s assuming a lot about Johnson’s negotiating abilities.

Update #3:

There’s word that the sale of the Charlotte Bobcats will be a continuing process over the next few months, into next season.  News 14 posted this article on the status of the sale.

Ladies and Gentlemen…Tyson Chandler!

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Fresh Off Their Most Promising Season Ever, The Bobcats Dump Salary!

Ladies and Gentlemen...Tyson Chandler!

See, it’s just like the Florida Marlins.  They stock up and win a World Series and then immediately dump payroll and start developing younger players for another run within the next decade. Except with the Bobcats, they win 35 games and dump salaries.  It’s almost identical.

Although my first response to the trade last night was overwhelmingly negative, I’ll try to channel my inner FOX NEWS and be “fair and balanced” in the following breakdown of the trade.

THE BAD NEWS FIRST

Put on Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief, dress in all-black, sneak a bourbon-filled flask into work and burn another Bob Johnson effigy…admit it, Bobcats fans, we’ve just wasted the past 5 years of our lives.

  1. After the most promising season in franchise history, the Bobcats pull a salary dump; sending a consistently productive player to our former home team for an injured lesser player with a smaller contract.
  2. This move basically states that George Shinn is more willing to spend on a winner than Bob Johnson.
  3. We ran Shinn out of town because he was cheap.  What kind of b.s. karma is this?

  4. Emeka Okafor has averaged a double-double in every one of his 5 NBA seasons.  Tyson Chandler has done it once…while playing with the second coming of Isiah Thomas (the player).  In other news, Michael Jordan has become the second coming of Isiah Thomas (the GM).
  5. The Bobcats were one of the bottom 5 teams in almost EVERY offensive category last season.  They replace a career 14ppg scorer with a guy who averages 8.2ppg.  Make it stop, please, make it stop.
  6. After an early bout with injuries, Emeka Okafor translates his practice of pilates and yoga (ala Kareem) into two consecutive seasons of 82 games.
  7. In 8 NBA seasons, Tyson Chandler has never played in all 82 games.

  8. Tyson Chandler is being lauded as defensive upgrade over Emeka Okafor.  An undisputed key defensive ability is shot blocking.  Okafor has a career average of 1.9bpg.  Chandler?  1.4bpg.
  9. Bobcats fans have ripped Okafor for being offensively offensive.  Wait till they get a load of Tyson Chandler (I’ll give you a preview…  Imagine Dwight Howard’s offensive game.  Got it?  Now take away 3 or 4 of his “moves.”  That’s right…)
  10. The OKC Thunder decided just a few months ago that Tyson Chandler wasn’t worth two stiffs that wouldn’t even be on their roster next season.  Now all of a sudden he’s worth a former Rookie of the Year.
  11. The same doctor who performed Tyson Chandler’s turf toe (or “death toe”) surgery two years ago deemed the toe to be a serious physical liability which rescinded his trade to the Thunder.
  12. Since the Bobcats are too broke to field a summer league team, conduct a proper training camp or retain proper organizational staff, they’ve arranged for Tyson’s physical to be conducted at the nearest Urgent Care facility.  He should pass with flying colors.
  13. Just to reiterate, Tyson Chandler couldn’t consistently average a double-double while playing with Chris-freakin’-Paul on a fast paced team like the Hornets.  What exactly is he going to do on a grind-it-out squad like the Bobcats?

THE GOOD NEWS LAST

H-H-Hey Kids!  Grab some Limbaugh-Strength Oxycotins everyone and put on your favorite rose-colored glasses, it’s time to take a positive look at this trade!!!

  1. Tyson Chandler is 7’1″.  Okafor is 6’10”.  We have a taller starting center for 60 games a year!
  2. Tyson Chandler likes to dunk the ball…well, actually, that’s his only shot but he does it with AUTHORITY!
  3. That yoga sissy Okafor would never just dunk on somebody.  Must’ve been all that soy estrogen in his system.

  4. Tyson Chandler’s contract expires in 2 Years!!!  Which means we can use that cap space to overpay some other seven footer in 2011…FANtastic!
  5. Tyson Chandler has played in meaningful playoff games.  Emeka Okafor will be playing in meaningful playoff games.
  6. Tyson Chandler is more “passionate” about basketball than Emeka Okafor.  This is apparently Larry Brown’s reasoning for making the trade.  This sets a great precedent, doesn’t it?  My brother just had PCL surgery.  Even though his doctor was consistent and skilled, maybe my bro would’ve been better off with a less talented, less dependable but more “PASSIONATE” surgeon?  By this rationale, Antonio Banderas is also the greatest living actor.

Let’s all be honest.  There is only one real benefit to this trade for Bobcats fans and that’s the fact that it makes the team look more attractive on the open market for a new buyer.  The sooner that Bob Johnson sells this team, the sooner we all get to potentially see a quality organization and Playoff basketball.

And I’m not hating on Tyson Chandler.  I really do hope that he comes in, stays healthy and improves the team.  I hope that I am dead wrong and that this deal plays out similarly to the Larry Johnson/Anthony Mason trade during the Summer of ’96.  Mason came in and put up the best numbers of his career and helped lead the Charlotte Hornets to a then franchise high 54 wins.
Realistically?  I doubt it.
After this move, Coach Brown might have to trade for some new fans.  The current ones just aren’t going to be very “passionate” about the team anymore.

-ASChin



POLL : The Okafor – Chandler Trade

  • Fair Deal For Both Teams (23%, 13 Votes)
  • Bobcats Blew This One (57%, 32 Votes)
  • Hornets Will Miss Chandler (20%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 56

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NOW ON SALE! “The Worst of Bob Johnson”

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Charlotte NBA fans have had the Bob Johnson Blues
Charlotte NBA fans have had the Bob Johnson Blues

A NEW COMPACT DISC COMPILATION THAT NO BOBCAT FAN SHOULD BE WITHOUT!

Hits include:

  • “C-SET Blues”
  • “Daddy’s Little Girl Wants a Pony” (The Jumper Classic Theme)
  • “Bills, Bills, Bills” (with Destiny’s Child)
  • “Basketball Economics are Tough – B.E.T.” (sample from Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.”)
  • “Where Incompetent Happens”
  • “I’m Bad Like Adam Morrison”
  • “Come Down To Dixie (and all I got was a $260 Million Arena)”
  • “Me, the Devil and Primoz Brezec”
  • “This Country Ain’t Ready for a Black President (Hillary’s Song)” (Duet with Clarence Thomas)

Better Than Making the Playoffs: Bob Johnson Wants to Sell the Bobcats

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First off, big props to Rick Bonnell for breaking today’s news.  Bonnell takes a lot of grief from “the internets” but when he’s on, he’s on.

BOB JOHNSON IS ATTEMPTING TO SELL THE BOBCATS!
If you are a ‘Cats fan, I can’t think of any better news.  Sure, there’s always a chance that this turns into an Atlanta Hawks-sized debacle and (considering the parties involved) the For Sale sign could seriously impede this summer’s personnel moves but c’mon!  It’s worth another season or two of mediocrity if only to rid ourselves of the man who single-handily did the impossible:

Bob Johnson made us miss George Shinn

For those of us who were around during the agonizing Hornets custody battle this is hard to believe.  Oh, but it’s true.  Damn true.  Who wouldn’t welcome Shinn and the Hornets back to Charlotte after “C-SET” Johnson’s 5+ years of ineptitude?  After JumperClassic-Gate V: The Final Frontier, I was ready to personally greet Ray Woolridge at Charlotte-Douglas in a Mike Fox Limo, holding a little hand-stiched sign that read “Mr. Woolridge.” <rant above©2009Tom Sorenson>

Seriously, this is really great news and to start off the festivities, let’s put in our wish list for the next owner (or ownership group).

I’ll start it off:

  • Needs to have money, lots of it.  Ideally billions.  And a pre-nup.
  • Needs to be likable, warm, funny and candid.
  • Needs to be a part of Charlotte, not apart from Charlotte.
  • Needs to understand the current direction of the NBA, new statistical analysis and hiring outside the box.  See Rockets, Houston.
  • Needs to be serious about reverse engineering the San Antonio small-market franchise model or needs to be wealthy enough (like Paul Allen) to spend his or her way out of mistakes (and when I say her, I mean Oprah).

That’s my 5.  Let’s hear it Bobcats fans, “Make Some Noise!”

-ASCHIN

UPDATE 05/25/09 | Hollinger on Bobcats Sale:

ESPN.com’s John Hollinger had some choice words on the Bobcats For Sale news in his Saturday Insider Gems:

The Bobcats are for sale, and that has to be good news for their fans. The odds for the team to relocate are minuscule, as Charlotte has a new arena and a solid market, not to mention the fairly harsh penalties for departing. But whoever takes over is almost certain to operate the team more competently than Robert Johnson did.

Johnson’s tenure was so bad that on Friday a Charlotte columnist was longing for the George Shinn days. Presumably the new guy won’t let Michael Jordan run the team from the 12th green or shut out the local TV audience, and he might even be encouraged to spend some money on players.

Become an ESPN.com Insider and read the rest of Hollinger’s post here.


Seattle, Charlotte Feels For You.

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Charlotte Coliseum Marquee 2008

After all of the headlines have passed and while the new OKC NBA team is on the verge of creating a new name, the supporters of NBA Basketball in Charlotte should recognize what has happened to Seattle. We’ve been through this. Somewhere in the days following the Charlotte Hornets achievement of credibility, and several seasons after the town hosted the All-Star game, things began to sour for the franchise. The Hornets’ owner was despised and refused to sell his franchise to any locals. It was made clear that our NBA team was only in town to serve as profit for the owners. Nothing more, nothing less. Does that sound familiar Seattle?
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THE RIGHT DIRECTION

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IT HAS BEGUN

In the last few days, the Charlotte Bobcats have removed Sam Vincent and announced that a Hall of Fame coach has been secured to lead the team in the right direction.

Due to some good fortune, I was able to reschedule some of the days plans and make it to announcement of Charlotte’s newest coach, Larry Brown. Within the arena, the press held down the chairs facing the new coach and the heads of the organization – Fred Whitfield, Michael Jordan and Bob Johnson. Surrounding the rows of chairs were fans that had shown up to celebrate the arrival of Brown. As a late entry, I slipped to the left side of the audience and noticed several familiar faces from the club just a few feet to my left – Bernie Bickerstaff and asst. coach Paul Moleski. As the curtained was cleared and the main event began, I realized that Raymond Felton, Sean May, Phil Ford, and Matt Carroll were just a step away from me, as well. They all seemed just as excited for this announcement as the fans around them.

Several things stood out to me as Brown and Jordan held their opening comments and answered a few rounds of questions. Particularly, it was interesting to learn that Jordan had contacted Brown about the position a year ago. Brown wasn’t ready then, but at what point did he let Michael know that he wanted the job? Was Vincent just a calculated gamble by Jordan and the organization, knowing that they could reach out to Brown in a future situation? Both Jordan and the new head coach strategically dodged any hint that this was in the works while Sam was on the job.

Also, it was great to hear Brown discuss his aims of coaching such a young team. Much has been said on the major sports broadcasts about how he prefers veteran guys. In response to question on the topic, Brown replied “You’ve got to coach guys up.” He followed comparing the trend of new NBA rosters with coaching college teams when asked about the youth of the Bobcats. He stated that a great challenge was “understanding the difference between criticism and coaching” for young players. A phrase he repeated often was that the team will “be coached every day.”

Another common line you’ll hear about Larry Brown from ESPN or Sports Illustrated is that he’s very hard on his point guards. A local reporter lobbed that question to Brown and he simply admitted to it. Of his point guards, he said that he considers them “an extension of the head coach.”

Additional Notes:

Sean May looks a bit thinner than I’ve ever seen him. From my brief observations, he and Felton look like true friends, not just long time teammates. Raymond looked honestly excited about the event, also.

When asked about the rest of his coaching staff, Brown said the Jordan wanted him to consider those currently on staff as a courtesy to their loyalty. Brown went to explain that he will choose his own assistants, those who “will care about me.” It was an interesting way to put it, but I think Phil Ford will probably be the only one of the assistants to remain.