Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jordan needs to speak publicly more often

Michael Jordan finally defended himself and the Bobcats Wednesday in an exclusive interview with The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell, taking on former Bobcats coach Larry Brown for comments Brown had made on Dan Patrick's national radio show.

No, not everything Jordan said was perfect. And not everything he has done this week has been perfect, either -- showing up at a hockey game in Chicago is not exactly the way you inspire confidence in your leadership of a team that is one game away from the worst winning percentage in NBA history.

But Jordan, as usual when he talks, made a lot of sense. The problem is he doesn't talk enough. He and the Bobcats have decided Jordan should basically do interviews so rarely -- pretty much only at the beginning of each NBA season, the end of each season and at some point around the NBA draft with a few rare exceptions -- that the average fan often wonders how committed or engaged Jordan really is with the team he owns.

I've been around him enough to know that he is committed. He can't stand losing. Never has been able to. James Worthy once beat him in 2 out of 3 games of one-on-one they played in Chapel Hill when both were in school at UNC, and Jordan has nagged Worthy to play him again for 30 years so he can get even. (Worthy, wisely, always said "No.")

I'm sure MJ is inwardly embarrassed that the Bobcats (7-58) have lost 22 games in a row.

But Jordan doesn't communicate that enough. He's a huge asset to the Bobcats, as well as their primary owner, and when the team looks like it's in crisis like this one does the top guy has to step to the plate more often to calm the waters.

Jordan did Wednesday, offering a few reassuring words to Bobcat fans.

"This was going to be a trying year – we knew that,” Jordan said in the interview. “But did we want to chase the most Ping-Pong balls (in the May 30 draft lottery)? No way. “Ever since I’ve owned the team (buying control from founder Bob Johnson in 2010), I think we’ve made some very positive moves on the business side. We had to make a difficult decision to turn over the (basketball) talent. This year the talent we had didn’t respond, but that doesn’t cause me to turn my back on the plan.”

The talent didn't respond? Well, that's a nice way of putting it. The Bobcats are horrid, having gone 0-for-April.

Some of Brown's comments sounded petulant on Patrick's show while others rang true. Jordan came off in his own comments as the one who sounded more reasonable.

That's one of MJ's gifts. He's a fine communicator -- when he chooses to be.

He just doesn't choose to be often enough. And when he doesn't, some other noise always is going to fill that void.

If you don't control the message, ultimately the message will control you. If Jordan's advisors really do have his ear, they should tell him that and get him in front of this team from a PR standpoint more often.


Anonymous said...

One of the things he should publicly say is that we're getting the Hornets name back.

Anonymous said...

Please don't draft another UNC player...draft the best player on the board (hopefully Davis #1). Just because we live in Chapel Hole South doesn't mean we need to stay local with the picks.

Anonymous said...

I have never completely bought Jordan's committment to Charlotte. I think the only reason he bought the Bobcats is because the Bulls were not for sale. So far, the only difference between the Jordan-owned Bobcats and the Johnson-owned Bobcats is that the Johnson-owned Bobcats won more games.

Anonymous said...

And that the Jordan-owned Bobcats actually made the playoffs while the Johnson-owned Bobcats never did

Jai said...

Hiring Rich Cho was the first correct basketball decision in a while. Getting A. Davis in the draft at #1 will be the 2nd. I say, can Paul Silas at the end of the year and hire Nate McMillan. Then we can worry about the Bobcats/Hornets decision.

Anonymous said...

When Jordan talks, it's news. So how suprising is it that a journalist would say he doesn't talk enough?

That aside, Larry Brown is offering revisionist history. Three of the decisions he most influenced, 1) Drafting Augustin 2) Releasing Felton to sign Thomas and 3) Releasing Chandler were all very, very poor choices that hurt this team. Brown is impatient and shifty, and Jordan had to do a very unpopular thing (within UNC circles, at least) by letting him go. Yes, the Bobcats are terrible this year, but they have lots of additional contracts coming off the books next year and hopefully will get talent through the draft and see development from their young guys. I will say that Henderson showed great signs during the Memphis game, so at least we have one guy who is capable of "bringing it". The decisions post-Brown have been good, and Cho is a proven executive, so there is hope. Yes, not much else, but at least hope.

Anonymous said...

Jordan is "a fine communicator?" In every interview I've ever seen with Jordan...he literally says "nothing" he just rambles incoherently.

The most hilarious bit Mark Packer used to run on his WFNZ show was the interview with the guy that came on the show as Michael Jordan...absolutely hilarious. The thing was that it wasn't a was an exact impression. I wish I could find it online.

In the end, nevermind MJ showing up at a hockey game in Chicago...he'd rather do McDonald's drive through than show up at Time Warner Arena.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous APRIL 26, 2012 1:02 PM

A couple of things. First, if that was the funniest thing you ever heard on Packer's show then you simply could not have listened to it more than once, for those 3 or 4 minutes.
Secondly, it was not an exact impression. It was entertainingly close, but not exact.

Maybe you're just ignorant.