Michael Jordan is still the same man. And the legacy born of that celebrated existence still shines as radiantly as all those Larry O’Brien trophies he so regularly stockpiled during a run for glory that’s been matched by no other NBA player.
Just why so many would be this quick to try to take that away from MJ, now be so open to justifying their unflattering judgment of him based on what twelve other men haven’t done as opposed to what he so typically did still somewhat escapes me.
By now, it’s common knowledge that Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats’ owned franchise—at least statistically speaking—pitifully rates as the poorest pro-level team ever assembled. At 7-59 this season, the Bobcats evoke far more memories of and comparisons to Tatum O’Neal’s Bears than they ever will Jordan’s Bulls.
Clearly, all that darkness has been enough to alter the view of the likes of noted Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander, who less than a year after saluting his Airness as the game’s G.O.A.T. in a Slam Magazine retrospective piece, unapologetically blasted him as “a lost soul” in a recent newspaper rant questioning both his front office IQ and commitment .
Lost in all the maddening translation is the irrefutable fact that the Bobcats currently have one of the youngest rosters in all the NBA. And though clearly there is no exact science as it relates to the God-anointed gift of motivating the hearts and minds of the young, in Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, D.J. Augustin and prayerfully Anthony Davis en route, at least they have pedigree own their side.
Still, with Jordan being Jordan, MJ takes added heat for being what some call an absentee owner. Like on back-to-back days earlier this month, when the Bobcats were still in the game in terms of staving off their now dubious distinction and instead of being on hand to lend moral support, Jordan elected to be in Chicago and otherwise publically engaged.
Earth to the pulpit: not every NBA owner is looking to emulate Mark Cuban. And more to the point, maybe some of them are hoping for anything other than that— remember MJ’s already had his day in the limelight.
Maybe, just maybe, he’s now of the mindset that if he can now somehow remove the specter of himself from the everyday development and maturation process of all his new jacks perhaps it will ultimately make it easier for all of them to cast themselves free of his otherwise immovable shadow.
Or perhaps as, former Knicks coach and current NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy recently intimated in an ESPN piece headlined “The Bitter Medicine of a Long Rebuild,” it’s all gamesmanship to begin with.
“I think when they hired Rich Cho, who’s really a respected general manager, they charted a course that’s almost a blueprint by a lot of teams now… that formula is to get as bad as you can, rather than try to win and be pretty good. You can call that smart management or you can call it a detriment to the NBA. It all depends on your point of view.”
Either way, he wants to be the one to tell Michael Jordan game is over? Who in the name of Criag Ehlo wants the task of telling MJ he can no longer craft and perfect his own legendary ending?
Michael Jordan insists he’s all in in terms of building the Charlotte Bobcats in his own image. The hoops fan in me hopes he’s right. Beyond that, I know he’s deserving of more of a chance.
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