Sometime ago there was an article printed on one of the many online news outlets that called for His Airness, Michael Jordan, to get involved in the contract negotiations between the players and owners of the NBA. Now that he has done so there are many that wished he had not.
The last time there was a labor impasse (and he was a player) he was quite instrumental in getting a deal done. If he got involved this time around—as an owner of the Charlotte Bobcats—a deal could actually be struck that both sides would be able to accept.
Since he made his views known there has been article after article printed that was not too kind to Jordan. Those people had one image of him in their minds and since he didn’t say what they wanted to hear—that the 50-50 split was a good deal—they are out to turn him into a turncoat and villain.
I think that MJ might just be trying to save his team and the rest of the NBA in the process.
Jordan is an owner now. He wants—he needs– his team to play so he can make money. Of course for that to happen he needs the season to happen and for the players to get back to doing what they do. His position as an owner is a little more precarious since the Bobcats are one of those teams that are not doing so well financially.
Just how well or poor they are doing only he probably knows. However, if the fact that some of his fellow owners are putting their share of the team up for sale is any indication then things can’t be good.
Everyone knows that there will be a fan reaction to the lockout and missed games; there always is whenever millionaire players and billionaire owners squabble over their piece of the pie. Those teams that were already on questionable ground are just going to become a lot worse off making turning the team into a success on the court and financially even more difficult than it already is.
Being the smart guy that he is, Jordan knows that if he just tried to throw his support behind the 50-50 proposal, that most of the players would just do what they are doing now—call him a turncoat. For his word to mean anything he needed it to be more of drastic call to action.
I think it is safe to say that it was.
With the perception being that there are a significant number of owners that are behind what Jordan is saying, it would appear that the offer the owners are making could get worse for the players—not better. Should the players decertify the union now you can almost guarantee that the majority of owners will sway over to Jordan’s view of things.
In my mind, Jordan isn’t selling anyone out with his hardline stance at all. By talking about reducing the players to 47 percent he is showing these guys that the 50-50 deal is not bad. I think that Jordan has given the players the push they needed; more of a hard kick in the pants, but needed none the less.
More players are going to realize that this is as good as it’s going to get. Maybe it’s not as good as it was, but it sure is a heck of a lot better than what they’ll get in Europe or China. With a done deal—whatever it ends up being—the players can get back to doing what they do best and get paid really well for it in.
In the process I think Jordan will get exactly what he is wanting. He’s won multiple championships as a player, but he wants to be responsible for creating a champion from the bottom up. To do that in Charlotte he needs for those guys to start playing.
Call that selfish if you want, but if his actions get everyone back where they belong I would call it pretty darn altruistic.