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December 14, 2011

Jordan talks Bobcats with Observer

Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan gave a one-on-one interview to the Charlotte Observer Wednesday before a general press conference with Charlotte media. Some of Jordan’s responses:

            Q: Your impressions of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement as a small-market owner: What did you like about the final form and what do you wish had been there that didn’t make the cut?

            A: Overall, I think the CBA is better. Is it ultimately what we hoped for? No. Some of the things that are pluses: Shorter contracts and tax (increases on the big spenders)...

            I would have liked to have seen more risk (shared) by the players. Economically it’s a tough time for a lot of the markets, not just small markets. Could (the maximum length of) contracts have been shorter? Yeah, they could have been shorter. Could there have been guidelines allowing small-market teams to be more aggressive (in competition with) big markets? Yeah.

            My whole thing with the CBA from Day 1 was competitive balance. That’s better for everybody, not just the small markets.

            Q: What was your reaction to David Stern vetoing the Chris Paul trade to the Los Angeles Lakers/

            A: If you’re a small market, you’re happy. Obviously I understand where the player is coming from -- the habit of late has been to dictate where he goes. But as a small-market owner, I want to protect my market.

            (Jordan said he wished the NBA had done away with the rule allowing extend-and-trade transactions. That because the backdrop for Carmelo Anthony forcing his way from Denver to New York.)

            Q: You took some flak from some players concerning your labor situation. Did that register on you and do you have any concern that could hinder the Bobcats recruiting free agents?

            A: I hope not, and I don’t think it will. My stance with the CBA was I want to provide a championship-quality team to Charlotte. I was going out on a limb to protect that and obviously the players felt differently.

            (Jordan was a vocal voice for the players during the 1998 lockout. He said the difference between then and now is not just that he’s become an owner, but that now most NBA teams lose money, where then most teams made money).

            I’m not anti-player. As a businessman, I want everybody to be happy. I do feel players should assume more risk, especially when (owners now) assume all the risk. There are no non-guaranteed contracts.

            Q: How soon can this be a competitive team?

            A: I want it to be today, but there are certain things you have to take into consideration, like (salary) cap space. Does that mean we have to get into a high draft pick this year (by losing a lot)? I don’t know -- I’m afraid to admit to that.

            In some ways we’ll have to build through the draft but we should also go into free-agency. Can I put a timetable to that? It’s hard to say.

Q: Talk about the rookies.

A: (Bismack) Biyombo reminds me so much -- I don’t want to compare him, but -- of (Hakeem) Olajuwon. He had skills and he was all about work ethic and I think this kid is, too.

            (On Kemba Walker): When he has the ball, he knows anytime he can score. He was patient. He wasn’t rushing. He attacked. He dissected. That’s an unbelievable advantage. You can’t react to something without understanding it. This kid has that. Granted, he’s 5-10 (listed as 6-1). But those are things I saw in him that are hard to give to other people.

            Q: If you were still a player, what would it take for you to want to come to Charlotte to play?

            A: Support of the city. Looking at the talent (already there), the commitment from the organization, the coaching staff (to winning). And me, I’m looking to turn it into something great. Not maybe to start at the bottom, but to see if I can carry that weight of the city’s desire to win.

            That’s what I was all about. Maybe some of these kids have a little different perspective. Chicago put its faith in me to win.  Maybe we can find a guy with that same emotion. The city is starving for a winner, and maybe I can find that player who says, “Hey, I can make a difference.’’ I hope there are still players out there with that same perspective.


Posted by Observer Sports on December 14, 2011 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


Insert idiotic comment from the same guy that changes his name every five minutes here......wait for it.....

Posted by: Cranky | Dec 14, 2011 3:40:19 PM

Refreshingly truthful.

Posted by: Chris | Dec 14, 2011 3:49:27 PM

To add to that.....I agree that he needs players that draw the city in. The Panthers have more of those types of players (those commenting publically how much they enjoy being here, and are visible).

GW and maybe Felton were that way to the extent that they wanted to play here, but so far, no one has really tried to make themselves the face of the city.

Maybe that's why I'm a Panther season ticket owner, and go to a couple of Bobcats game per year, even though I enjoy watching them both the same.

Posted by: Chris | Dec 14, 2011 3:54:09 PM

Bobcats&Panthers Playoffs next year! Keep the Faith!

Posted by: Proctons a Loser | Dec 14, 2011 3:54:21 PM

The answer to that last question was great. All these players today want to clique up with their friends and share the load. No one wants to be the man anymore. No one wants to be that player to take the last shot and have the guts to miss. The list of current players that have that is very short.

Posted by: Chris | Dec 14, 2011 3:56:16 PM

Shouldnt have compared Biyombo to Hakeem freakin Olajuwon. Could have kept it a safe comparison, and said a Serge Ibaka, or Ben Wallace.

Posted by: Jason Warren | Dec 14, 2011 3:59:10 PM

MJ hit it dead on and I know his will to win will ultimately drive this franchise in the right direction. I love my Carolina teams and the 19 million people in the Carolinas need to support their teams. Let us make Charlotte a place where players play because they love the fan base that's what we used to be about let's get back to that.

Posted by: Joshua Powell | Dec 14, 2011 4:07:12 PM

MJ - if you want support from the city i need you to be more of a face for the team. be at every home AND road game. be marketing the team full-time in CHARLOTTE throughout the year, not just during the season. when i see bobcats, i see you, when i see you, i see bobcats. think mark cuban.

Posted by: john | Dec 14, 2011 4:13:55 PM

Making the Bobcats a "winner" will require a MUCH BIGGER effort by mister Jordan.

Posted by: john holmes | Dec 14, 2011 4:17:26 PM

Has anybody on this board actually met MJ? I've never seen him in Charlotte. The moat between MJ and Charlotte has never been greater. Nice to have His Airness speak to the masses...through the media

Posted by: Robert Parish | Dec 14, 2011 4:22:58 PM

Maybe MJ should go around and personally shake the hand of every person in Charlotte What the hell is wrong with people?

Posted by: Skip | Dec 14, 2011 4:26:35 PM

Yes, I sat near him at almost every game. And, yes, he does meet with those who pay for the more expensive season tickets. I do agree that he needs to be more visible and more of a fan himself to fire up other supporters.

I really wish he would do more talks like these than leaving the fans in the dark so often. The few times I've heard him explain his decisions, I've found them clear-headed and thoughtful.

Posted by: long | Dec 14, 2011 4:41:11 PM

Hey Jordan, make better personnel decisions and maybe we can start to think about possibly making the playoffs.

Posted by: C.Bax | Dec 14, 2011 4:48:05 PM

Hopefully that process started with the 2 top 10 picks. We will see.

Posted by: Frenchy | Dec 14, 2011 4:52:52 PM

Charlotte a winner in 5 years. Go BobcTS

Posted by: thomas lewis | Dec 14, 2011 4:53:19 PM

Well stop trading all the player then city falls in love with. Seem like everytime we get someone who can be the face mgt trade them instead of paying them!! come on mj, you know that no one will come here bc its a good chance you will trade them before pay day

Posted by: 336nda704 | Dec 14, 2011 5:04:56 PM

What a dumb comment. Who exactly did he not pay before he traded them? Emeka got ridiculous money. Wallace made 9 million. If anything it is the opposite. Wake up junior.

Posted by: Stifler | Dec 14, 2011 5:11:55 PM

I agree with what MJ is doing - he didn't want to say it but basically he is rebuilding and it is a two or three year process. We will have some $$ for FAs next summer - like 15 million - and if we lose a lot we will also have a top five pick. We should be able to add two really good players - one via the draft and the other via FA (at around 10-12 million a year). We have a couple expensive guys whose contracts are done after 2013 - so the Cats will be able to add another big FA then or use it to resign our guys - either way - the Bobcats are set up nice after this season. Bobcats will be a solid playoff team in 2013.

Posted by: Dirt | Dec 14, 2011 5:15:36 PM

FYI- building the team with free agents like Ely is not even a good start to get into the playoff. open up the pocket book, even if for a yr contract.

Posted by: 336nda704 | Dec 14, 2011 5:20:50 PM

Like I said in an earlier post, it's a big risk trying to build through the draft when it's obvious that the cosmos is set up so that the franchise never gets a top pick. Even if we go 16-50 this year, I'm willing to bet a billion dollars the top 3 picks will be 3 teams that go 32-34 and we'll be stuck with the 4th pick. We just never do well in the lottery. The only reason there is still a franchise in San Antonio is because they got lucky in the lottery and got David Robinson, and then got lucky again a decade later and got Tim Duncan.

All that being said, I'm glad to hear MJ realizes he has to get some free agents in here. I think it can be done. Everyone says there's nothing to do here compared to NY or Chicago or LA. I say that's bunk. We have plenty of strip clubs and mega-million highrise condos to keep these guys amused.

Posted by: J | Dec 14, 2011 5:33:18 PM

@ stifler so you saying they did not get rid of raymond felton premature? say what you want but dude is a top 10 guard thats in the league today

Posted by: 336nda704 | Dec 14, 2011 5:34:29 PM

You did say he traded players away instead of paying them, correct? I think you said it more than once. Felton was not traded. Also, he offered Felton more that he eventualy signed for in NY. C'mon man. I don't care if you don't know much about hoops, but at least have your facts straight before you throw Jordan under the bus.

Posted by: Stifler | Dec 14, 2011 5:42:35 PM

I could care less about the NBA, but I love that Jordan still loves NC, has come back here to make a winner out of this franchise, and wants to bring some titles to NC. Nice to see some pride in being a North Carolinian.

Posted by: Ben | Dec 14, 2011 5:48:23 PM

I doubt the "Charlotte Bobcats" will ever work in Charlotte, just as not many ppl care for the Charlotte / UNCC 49ers.

Branding and the colors matter. Change the name to Carolina Flight or something and the colors to a form of blue. Basketball will definitely work in Charlotte, but brand and market it appropriately and you'll gain more support (like the Panthers) and better attract the CP3's, D12's, and possibly both if you have a plan.

Posted by: Flight23 | Dec 14, 2011 5:53:00 PM

People care only about winning. If they win, team colors or name doesn't matter. Everyone killed the Thunder name when it came out. No one talks about that now.

Posted by: Money | Dec 14, 2011 6:00:36 PM

Sorry a bit off the subject, but to the guy (Jason?) who said something about the "19 million people in the Carolinas"...I'm not sure where you get your info, but there are around 9.5 million people in NC, and about 4.6 million in SC. I'm no math major, but that seems like closer to 14 million than 19.

Posted by: Frankie | Dec 14, 2011 6:08:56 PM

Wow. I can't believe this Primo guy finally realized what a joke he is. Maybe he will stop posting. This is awesome.

Posted by: Special K | Dec 14, 2011 6:12:52 PM

i just wish he would do 2 things....

1 - get rid of rod higgins and stop meddling with player personnel decisions.

2 - lower ticket prices until the demand actually matches the supply. there's no reason why the games should be THAT empty in this city. give the tickets away if you have to. get people in and involved and THEN you raise the prices. raise the prices on the games for the lakers and heat and all of them to balance it out. if bandwagoneers only want to come to those games, fine but for other loyalists, it should be cheaper to sit in an empty arena.

jordan still trumps johnson by a mile though. i'm afraid it might be getting late to turn this ship around though.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 14, 2011 6:16:38 PM

They just announced $5 upper level seats for the 1st 3 games on January. Can't go much lower than that. Even Primo could afford those.

Posted by: Skip | Dec 14, 2011 6:21:24 PM

the entire upper level should be $5 every game year round. the exceptions being the bandwagon games like miami or lakers when they sell out anyway.

there should be better deals on the lower level.

they get the arena filled up first and make it to where there is a race to get tickets, soon enough you actually have a fanbase. you have more market for your tv deals, you get national tv dates, you get all those $5 upper level crowd booked on season passes.....

THEN you raise the prices. most of the money comes from tv. can't make money on tv if nobody is watching. can't make money at the ticket office if nobody is showing up. get them there first, THEN sell them on it long term. people get used to things and you raise the price and they pay it to keep their life the same.

not to mention the team wins more games when there is a sell out crowd there cheering them on every game.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 14, 2011 6:48:38 PM

"Charlotte is Starving for a Winner" ... That might be the biggest understatement I've heard in a loooong time. What we as fans want is not just a winner, but a consistent winner. Hopefully the Bobcats are building towards that. I think they are starting off in the right direction. Clearing the bad contracts (please amnesty Diop as soon as possible), having draft picks and getting younger. It's worked well for teams like OKC.

Posted by: PantherDave | Dec 14, 2011 6:56:47 PM

Charlottean and nda704336 are the two biggest NBA dumbasses ever to post on here. My God get a clue and 704 learn english. I love people with no money talking about spending frachise money. MJ is doing things right. Go Bobcats!

Posted by: really? | Dec 14, 2011 7:48:42 PM

MJ just said that i constantly said before about LBJ, DWade, Chris Bosh and the likes.. These guys are cowards. they cant carry the weight of the "cities passion" to be a contender. Blaming on the mgt or the org. Geeez! Well said MJ. These are how the greats think.

Posted by: arky | Dec 14, 2011 8:12:40 PM

Perception and history in this town is important - the overall name and color scheme of the Bobcats just doesn't jive. Bring back the name of the Hornets and watch the fans come back.

Posted by: blah blah | Dec 14, 2011 9:10:01 PM

I really appreciate MJ and all he is doing for Charlotte. Unfortunately, the "George Shinn Affect" is a prolonged, painful disease with a difficult recovery requiring people to go above and beyond the normal call of duty. (yeah.. yeah... mixing metaphors...)

IF MJ actually reads this board, my suggestion for filling up the seats is to go after the kids, who will beg the parents to take them to a game, which will end up being fun family time and multiplying into several games a season, which can create a life long fan. This approach has a two-fold benefit. It not only increases revenue, but helps create that community spirit that we used to have back in the "pre-disgusted with the owner" Hornets days.

(For the record, in case anyone is wondering, we split 4 season tickets with another family every year until the very end of the Hornets.)

Seriously, MJ, start visiting the CMS schools. Talk to the kids about how great sports and fitness is but that, even if you are one of the greatest sportsmen ever (be sure to mention the rarity of that!), it is critical to have an education so you don't lose everything when your body is too old to keep playing. Explain dedication in all endeavors, resistance to bad peer pressure, following the rules, etc. And then top it off with 15-20 brand new basketballs for the PE class and/or basketball team. Then give each kid a cheap gee-gaw for a personal touch. I will never forget the excitement of a first season plastic Hornets cup at my son's kindergarten class "Autumn Party". Maybe a few buy one adult bring the kid for free tickets...

Show the love, MJ, and it should come back three-fold.

Posted by: discourser | Dec 14, 2011 9:25:11 PM

The Bobcats need a Center and they should draft one in 2012. Draft Tyler Zeller!! Go Heels!!!

Posted by: Bryan | Dec 14, 2011 10:32:51 PM

What about what I said is wrong?

I don't sit upper level but anytime you go to a non knicks heat lakers game the arena is empty. How is that good business? Even if you give the seats away, it helps your brand.....you make money off apparel and concessions.

And don't lump me in with someone who can't complete coherent thoughts.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 15, 2011 12:22:35 AM

Diaws contract expires this year, and then next year both Maggette, and Diops contracts expire. Thats alot of money towards free agency not counting the inevitable top 4 pick we will have this year, and probably lottery pick next year. Dont forget we also have Portlands first rounder in 2013 that, although it wont be a lottery pick should be a top 23 pick, which isnt bad at all. I give it 2-3 years, and with the right draft picks we will be a 50 win caliber team.

Posted by: Jason Warren | Dec 15, 2011 12:48:28 AM

Diop will be amnestied next season, so basically this season is going to be rough, lets give Biyombo and Kemba lots of play time, when Diaw and Najera come off the books next year also the Bobcats will have LOTS of money to spend. Having said that, the core of Tyrus, Kemba, Biyombo, Henderson with DJ getting quality minutes off the bench could be solid, all we have to do is add a true center and another shooter next year and then that winner that Jordan talks about could become a reality. We just have to get through this year.

PS: For all those people talking about Higgins, he is no longer the GM, Rich Cho is the GM and he is a good one, he has a great track record. Also Trading away Felton, Wallace and Jackson was a great move, none of those guys were going to make Charlotte into perennial winners, Charlotte needs perennial winners.
Go Panthers! Go Bobcats!

Posted by: Panthersand Bobcats | Dec 15, 2011 1:15:12 AM

The Bobcats will never win a 1st round playoff series with Air Minimum at the helm.

Sorry folks.

Posted by: George Hanson | Dec 15, 2011 3:02:45 AM

Never? That is an ignorant statement. They are finally following the proper path for a small market team. If Heisley can do it in Memphis, winning a series for Jordan is certainly possible. A championship? That ia another story. Hopefully the comment is poorly phrased and you are not that stupid.

Posted by: Spencer | Dec 15, 2011 6:55:22 AM

For the record we didn't trade Felton.

Posted by: apauldds | Dec 15, 2011 9:16:56 AM

we know cho is the "gm" but supposedly he answers to rod higgins which makes it just as bad if not worse.

let's not lie, they're doing way better in 2011 then they ever did personnel wise. trading jack and wallace was necessary and they got solid value for both.

but it's the lingering bobcatitis that just stresses fans out. regardless of rebuilding or not you still have to have atleast one guy at every position. and we don't.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 15, 2011 11:30:40 AM

In their 14 years in Charlotte, the Hornets compiled a 522–546 (.489) win–loss record in the regular season and 20–28 (.417) in the playoffs. The franchise advanced to the post-season seven times, advancing to the Conference Semifinals on four occasions.

In their 7 years, the Bobcats have compiled a record of 222–352 (.386). The only time they have qualified for the postseason was in the 2009–10 season, where they were swept in four games by the Orlando Magic.

So to have as good a start as the Hornets, the Bobcats would have to go to the NBA playoffs 6 of the next 7 years. If they do that and get players as exciting as Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Muggsey Bogues, they will also set attendance records at the cable box.

Posted by: David Wesley | Dec 15, 2011 11:34:23 AM

^^^ BOOM.

sad part is......they've drafted a few guys that could have been in that status....they just never developed them.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 15, 2011 5:45:23 PM

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