Friday, May 22, 2009
OK, Michael Jordan, you have said for years you want to own a team.
Now there's one for sale in your homestate -- a team whose roster you have helped overhaul, a team that you already have a minority ownership stake in and a team that really should make the playoffs next season.
Time to step up.
Having talked to both Jordan and Bob Johnson one-on-one in the past few months about the possibility of MJ at some point becoming the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, I think there's nothing stopping this deal -- other than a few hundred million dollars and maybe some ego issues.
Johnson disclosed to me in our exclusive interview a month ago that he would be happy to sell the team to Jordan. Johnson also told me that he still owns "north of 70 percent" of the team.
As for Jordan? I asked the Bobcats that day (Wednesday April 15) if I could talk to MJ again about the ownership issue. Michael had told me in a one-on-one interview in November: "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.'"
Well, I'm still waiting for my next Jordan interview. The Bobcats tell me occasionally they are "working on it."
But to me, this situation is fairly clear-cut. After all, Johnson is obviously ready to sell. "I know Michael wants to own a team, and I want to assist him however I can," he told me in that interview a month ago.
Jordan needs to find some partners with deep pockets to share the risk. Then he needs to buy the majority interest in the team.
And then he needs to sink or swim -- MJ is famously competitive, and here's a chance to literally "own" another chance at competition.
The Bobcats would get a fresh start, Michael would get a team instead of just a small piece of one and Johnson could cash out. It makes too much sense, really. That's one reason why it might never happen. But it should.
Posted by Scott Fowler at 12:23 PM