Like many of you, I watched LeBron James' announcement on TV Thursday night that he was going to join the Miami Heat, where he will form Miami Thrice along with superstar buddies Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Meanwhile, as the NBA world was knocked off its orbit by LeBron, Michael Jordan was quietly doing business in Charlotte.
It was an interesting dichotomy -- in the space of a couple of hours I saw LeBron on TV (in what I thought was a very frustrating and contrived ESPN TV special) and Michael Jordan in person, quietly doing business in Charlotte.
I write about this a lot more in my column for Friday's newspaper and online, but I was struck by the fact that Jordan was the man responsible for all the “I can’t believe it!” moments in pro basketball. But the Bobcats’ majority owner was about as far away from this big moment as you could get.
Although King James has long idolized Jordan, the Bobcats were never a factor in the LeBron sweepstakes. While LeBron was repeatedly punching Cleveland in the gut by announcing in an hour-long ESPN special that he was leaving the Cavaliers for Miami -- and I have no connections to Cleveland but still feel awful for the city -- Jordan spent his Thursday under the radar.
Jordan spoke to a group of about 100 Bobcats’ season ticket-holders at a one-day adult fantasy basketball camp Thursday night. Then he went up to his office at Time Warner Cable Arena and watched a Bobcats’ summer-league game on TV.
At the fantasy camp, Jordan was jokingly asked one question by an adult camper about whether the Bobcats might pull off a last-minute coup and sign LeBron.
“If we get LeBron, I’m surprised, you’re surprised, I’m pretty sure everybody is surprised,” Jordan said.
Jordan also promised his fantasy campers Thursday night: “There’s a lot of action going on around the league. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know we’re going to be a better basketball team than we were last year.”
Really? How so? The Bobcats didn’t have a draft pick, haven’t signed a big-time free agent and appear close to losing starting point guard Raymond Felton.
Even if the current players get better, the Bobcats will still be undermanned when they plan on avoiding a first-round playoff sweep in 2011.
“Whatever it takes, I’m going to continue to build this basketball team into something that we can all be proud of,” Jordan said last night to the campers.
Really? Then show us.
But please, when and if you do, don’t create an hour-long TV special with ESPN and talk about it.