From a local perspective, the most interesting line in Michael Jordan’s “Welcome to NBA ownership news conference” on Thursday was this one:
“The thing that I can get out of this, I want to have fun,” Jordan said. “I want to provide entertainment to the public and to the city of Chicago … I mean, to the city of Charlotte. Or Chicago, too. I want to provide entertainment to everybody.”
Was Jordan secretly wishing he was being introduced as owner of the Bulls instead of the Charlotte Bobcats?
Well, from a business standpoint, of course he’d rather be running a large-market NBA team. But that’s the biggest reason Jerry Reinsdorf didn’t invite Jordan to join the Bulls’ ownership group – there’s too much money being made to get out now.
Speaking of Reinsdorf, Jordan was asked if he’s reached out to the Bulls’ chairman.
“Have I reached out to him? Not yet. But I’ve got a feeling that I’m gonna,” Jordan said. “I’m not immune to asking for advice and trying to get an understanding for certain things we should be doing to try to improve this scenario.
“My ego’s not that big. I’m not the type of guy that feels he knows everything. I have no problems asking David Stern, asking Jerry Reinsdorf – some of the relationships I’ve had during the course of my career – for advice.”
Jordan didn’t make any big promises during Thursday’s event. He knows it won’t be easy in Charlotte. The Bobcats are in position to make the playoffs this season for the first time, which is impressive. But he doesn’t have the means to add the kind of great player he needs to become a title contender.
Clearly, though, Job No. 1 with the Bobcats is to find a way to stop losing tens of millions per year. Fielding a competitive team will help. Asked by the Charlotte Observer if he’d consider changing the team’s nickname, Jordan said he’d be open to anything if that’s what the fans wanted.
By the way, an Observer online poll was running 79 percent in favor of changing the name as of Thursday night.
PLAYING DAYS ARE OVER
Asked if he’s ready to suit up for the playoffs, Jordan made it clear he’s done playing with a reference to a recent shooting contest against Bobcats rookie Gerald Henderson.
“My playing days are over with,” Jordan said. “The only basketball talents I have is to allow a guy from Duke to beat me at HORSE, so everybody can write about it. I want you guys to know -- I let him win, just for the morale. He’s been playing great ever since, if you noticed that?
“A lot of people have questioned my participation. I’m in a unique situation. I’m an owner that played in the league. I’m an owner that has a strong passion for the game of basketball. If I go there and start shooting with Gerald Wallace and start messing around with Stephen Jackson, I want you guys to understand – I’m not carrying out aspirations to come back. I’m having fun because of the passion I have.
“The type of owner I want to be is I want them to say, ‘I enjoy hanging out with MJ.’ I want them to ask me for advice. I want them to be able to contribute some type of knowledge for our young players. I want to be there for (coach) Larry Brown.”
Jordan made two references to wanting his kids to be able to work for the Bobcats in some capacity. Oldest son Jeffrey is a junior at Illinois, Marcus is a freshman at Central Florida and his daughter Jasmine is still in high school.
Maybe that helps explain why Jordan took such a financial risk by buying the Bobcats. At least he won’t have to worry about his kids throwing parties at the Highland Park mansion if they’re off scouting college talent in Starkville, Miss.
As a side note, there was a report out of Cleveland that Derrick Rose will not play against the Cavs on Friday. I checked with a Bulls source, who said no decision will be made until Friday’s shootaround.
It’s probably safe to say Luol Deng isn’t playing this weekend, but Rose is still a possibility to return from a left wrist sprain.