Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Think Michael Jordan Is Coming Around

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/08/2008 No comments
Thursday night I attended the Charlotte Chamber's Annual Meeting. To my surprise I enjoyed it and found it very insightful. It was held at Time Warner Cable Arena and attended by more than 2,000 members of the Charlotte business community, most of whom have a lot more money than me. Our local elected officials were also present as was Governor-elect Beverly Perdue (her first public appearance since defeating Pat McCrory Tuesday). But the highlight of the evening--and the reason I was most interested in coming--was Michael Jordan accepting the Citizen of the Carolinas Award.

I, like many Charlotteans, fans, and journalists, have been critical about Jordan's involvement and presence in Charlotte during the two and a half years he's been part-owner and top executive (second only to Bob Johnson) of the Charlotte Bobcats. I blogged last week about Jordan sitting on the Bobcats bench during the season home opener. And now, after the speech he gave while accepting the award Thursday night and the interview he gave The Charlotte Observer last night, I feel like MJ is committed to Charlotte.

During his speech, he assured everyone that he's in Charlotte more than we think. He said we might not see him at the grocery store, but we could find him at the golf course. He also said he would love to spend even more time in Charlotte--"North Carolina will always be home," he said--but he has other business and family obligations that require him to spend a lot of time in Chicago. I truly understand that. It's selfish of us, and particularly the anonymous commenters who are always dissing him on news and blog sites, to think that Jordan would be in Charlotte every day. The Bobcats is just one of his many business ventures, but I think he's showing now that it's a very important one.

Jordan also talked about being committed to putting a team on the court that we'll be excited about. He also, oddly, said that he was "Sorry for what George Shinn did to you guys." It's obvious that he recognizes that there are some people who are still bitter about the Hornets leaving (the Bobcats beat the Hornets last night, by the way). Jordan said that he and Bob Johnson, who was sitting in the audience, are working hard to make the Bobcats a success.

Then, in an exclusive interview with Observer reporter Scott Fowler last night, Jordan, who rarely grants interviews, talked candidly about the team and his relationship with Johnson. And one of his comments is sure to get the Internet and sports commentators buzzing: "When Bob wants to step aside, I have no problem stepping in and saying, ‘Hey, look, I’d love to take control of this franchise.' "

Click here for the Observer article.


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