“Michael Jordan” and “failure” are two phrases not usually used in the same sentence, unless antonyms are the goal. And with the news that MJ plans on becoming the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats rather soon, a fair amount of skepticism has bandied about whether or not Jordan can be a good if not competent owner.
This concern can be best classified as fair given his track record in the front office while at Washington, although the moves in Charlotte recently has given the Bobcats a puncher’s chance in the Eastern Conference to at least provide an upset in the first round (Stephen Jackson, mainly, also getting Larry Brown didn’t hurt).
The whole Washington fiasco has been discussed too much at this point, and the criticism is more than fair (Kwame Brown, trading Rip Hamilton just before Rip became Rip for Jerry Stackhouse in order to clear the space for his inevitable comeback). However, coming off his days as the greatest ever, unless he proved to be the next Jerry West he would be a disappointment.
Sure, he didn’t put in the long and grueling hours that the job of GM requires for all successful ones (they don’t just wing it). But an owner isn’t a GM. They don’t have to scout all the prospects and inquire to other teams about possible deals for players. That’s why they hire GMs, those who can run the organization with the occasional input from the owner and his preferences.
This seems like the ideal situation for Jordan, who loves the atmosphere but apparently doesn’t like to put in the manual labor required for a personnel employee. Plus, as many have pointed out, it can give way to his eventual return to the NBA and nobody can tell him that he can’t do so since he will own the team he plays for (like Jay-Z).
Will his ownership prove to be a successful one? If, as is so often said, he can employ the right mix of coach and management then why not? Larry Brown seems to be his guy, a fellow Tarheel, and the franchise seems to be on the right track. Can his presence attract free agents that would otherwise avoid a destination like Charlotte?
With each year that passes since Jordan’s retirement his immediate impact is lessened. His scope should not be underestimated however, as players can and do recognize what he meant and still means to the game. Does that inspire players to be lured to the Bobcats? I clearly have no answer.
If the franchise is willing and shows its willingness to spend money then it becomes a very attractive franchise. Any franchise that is willing to go above and beyond what is required will bring in players who are more interested in winning than purely monetary reasons.
And Jordan has the money, but would prefer (as we all do) to spend other people’s money. Would he scrimp and save as much as possible at all turns? I can’t imagine he would, as he is aware of the role of ownership in a franchise. He understands (I assume) that the role of the owner is not just to maximize profits, but to maximize victories. I’ll say he will be a successful one, just because how many times can Michael Jordan fail?