IN MY OPINION
Jordan knows the problems. Can he fix them?
Michael Jordan's first performance as a part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats came Thursday, and it was impressive.
Jordan talked like someone who has done a lot of homework and wants to spend a lot of Bob Johnson's money. He sounded committed to the team, engaged to the area and ready to do everything short of stepping on the court again to make the Charlotte Bobcats a winner.
Jordan talked about how the Bobcats had made mistakes and hadn't spent enough money yet to show they are serious about winning. He was fairly blunt and quite charming.
"Now as an insider, I have the authority to change the script a little bit," Jordan said of the Bobcats. "That's what I want to do."
It was a day of classic Jordan. He's always the coolest man in any room, and he was again Thursday. He watched part of a draft-prospect workout from the second floor of the Bobcats' practice facility. You could see the players looking up to steal glances at Jordan. Some of them would later say that simply having Jordan watch them shoot and dribble was "a dream come true."
That's the sort of star power Jordan still carries. He remains one of the most well-known men in the world.
And now Jordan is out to rescue the Bobcats.
That is no sure thing. Jordan didn't exactly rescue the Washington Wizards, although he said Thursday his time there in the front office shouldn't be considered a "failure" because he did improve their salary-cap situation.
In Charlotte, Jordan's role is vague one. He said he wasn't going to step on coach-general manager Bernie Bickerstaff's toes, yet it would seem impossible for that to not happen occasionally.
As the Bobcats' "Managing Member of Basketball Operations" -- I like to call it "MmBop" for short -- Jordan will control and/or approve all big basketball decisions. And he promised he also will talk to close pal Bob Johnson, who's still the majority owner, and get him to ante up when necessary.
Most everything Jordan said made sense Thursday. He said the Bobcats had been trying to put the business ahead of the basketball, when in reality the team had to grow first and then carry the business side along with it.
He also showed a deeper understanding of the Charlotte Hornets hangover here than I've ever heard from any high-level Bobcats official.
"Charlotte people are very loyal people," Jordan said in an interview. "So when they feel like their loyalty to you has been broken, you have to work hard to regain that loyalty."
Will Jordan succeed? There's no telling. But at least he is a quick study. He understands the problems.
"I'm going to be in tune, I'm going to pay attention and my ultimate responsibility is to try and get this basketball team back to where it has to go," he said.
I'm still skeptical. But it will be fun watching him give it a try.