I spent 30 minutes one-on-one with Michael Jordan Friday night in an exclusive interview for The Charlotte Observer. As always, Jordan is fascinating when you talk to him in person. I'd been pursuing the interview all week, and it got postponed a couple of times, but to his credit, Jordan came through.
The headline to the interview was Jordan saying for the first time publicly that he would "love" to be the majority owner of the Bobcats one day -- Jordan has a minority ownership stake in the team now and has the final say on all basketball-driven decisions, but Bob Johnson is the majority owner.
Jordan would like to buy out Johnson eventually, but MJ also said Johnson (despite rumors to the contrary) was enjoying owning the team right now and wasn't at a point where he would want to sell. I asked a Bobcats spokesman for a comment from Johnson, but the spokesman said later Friday night he was unable to secure one.
I liked this quote from Jordan about his relationship with Johnson, too: "I’ve known Bob for a long time. We’re friends. We’re business associates. I have no problems telling him ‘No.’ I have no problems telling him ‘Shut up.’ I have no problems telling him ‘You’re wrong.’ That’s what friends do. He’s opinionated. I am too. He owns the team -- I totally understand that -- but that doesn’t mean I can’t speak my mind. We have a good relationship."
Jordan also said he was actively pursuing a trade for a "big man," but wouldn't give out details and said that other teams were hesitant to pull the trigger with him right now. He also said Raymond Felton might be playing like he was too worried about his "next" contract -- this was before Felton scored 20 points in Charlotte's 92-89 victory over the New Orleans Hornets Friday night in Charlotte.
Although famously apolitical, Jordan also said he voted for Barack Obama and thought our president-elect would unite the country.
Because Jordan was quite forthcoming on a number of topics, I decided the best way to get more of his quotes into the paper was to run the story as a Q and A rather than a traditional sports column. You will find that Q and A in Saturday's newspaper and linked right here as well.