What an eventful 24 hours for Bobcats fans. First, Captain Jack and crew won an exciting, hard fought game over a young Memphis Grizzlies squad 93-89. Then, in the early morning hours we found out that UNC and NBA legend and current co-owner Michael Jordan will become the next controlling owner of the Bobcats, succeeding Robert Johnson.
Let’s start with the big news. According to many sources, MJ worked up until minutes before his deadline of midnight Friday, finally putting together a group of investors satisfactory to Bob Johnson and what meets NBA requirements. NBA commisioner David Stern said he expects the sale to go through by the end of next month, and even though the sale needs the approval of the other 29 owners, Mr. Stern doesn’t see that as a problem. For those who follow the team closely, this is an excellent move. Not only does it mean Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown will most likely stay on, but that team stars Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson are safe, and that the continuing development of Raymond Felton and Tyrus Thomas won’t be hindered. General Manager Rod Higgins, who was instrumental in bringing in Stephen Jackson, Jason Richardson (now in Phoenix), Boris Diaw, and Raja Bell (now in Golden State), will be able to continue building a veteran team and asserting himself as a solid front office man, and assistant coach Dave Hanners can be groomed to take over when Coach Brown decides to retire. But more than the current state of affairs, having one of the greatest players ever in any sport as your owner creates many opportunities. For a team lacking both corporate sponsors and star power, the pitchman Jordan is fills a much needed gap. As long as he continues to increase his prescence at games and in the community, the community will continue to warm to the Bobcats. For someone with a competitive spirit like Mike, putting a winning product on the court shouldn’t be a problem, and making sure the team wins over his home will likely be equally easy. Just remember, if you tell MJ he can’t, he’ll do it and then some. Just ask Bryon Russell.
Now back to the on-court action. Last night, Stephen Jackson was channeling his inner MJ in Memphis against the Grizzlies, putting up 32 points on 13-26 shooting and 3-7 from three. But the numbers don’t nearly tell the story. He put up 19 of the 32 in the second half, 10 in the fourth quarter. Also, he hit a 3 at the buzzer to put the ‘Cats up 84-82, then another 3 after faking out Sam Young to give Charlotte the lead for good. Captain Jack also had a game-high 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Boris Diaw had an impressive game, going 7-12 (3-6 from distance) for 18 points and grabbed 5 boards. Tyrus Thomas continued to impress in his sixth man role since coming over from Chicago, playing 22 minutes and shooting 6-7 for 13 points with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks. Unfortunately, DJ Augustin can’t seem to get it together, once again going 1-5 for 2 points with 2 turnovers and no assists, marking the 33rd time this season he has made 1 or 0 field goals in a game. Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph led Memphis with lines of 20/5/3 and 24/10/1, respectively.