Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Michael Jordan Talks Bobcats, LeBron & More

I recently sat down with NBA great Michael Jordan to talk about his purchase of the Charlotte Bobcats and a variety of other topics.

Here are the transcripts of the interview along with some of the highlights - I think you'll really enjoy them.

On whether him being around the arena makes fans want to go to the games more:

“I don’t know. I think what we have done over the last three months in terms of attendance and success of the team, we have grown…I’ve been making a lot of games – I’ve missed a few here and there and I’ve been on the road a couple times – that being said, I think our success on the basketball court is going to dictate how successful we’re going to be from the fan’s connection. Yes, I’m going to be involved. Yes, I’m going to be here. Am I going to be here for every game? I doubt it, but I will be here to make my presence known and to show my dedication to this franchise.

Air Gets Bobcats

On how active of an owner he will be:

“I will be a hands-on owner. In the last three and half years, I’ve been more active on the basketball side and not so much on the business side. Now I have to expand my responsibilities a little bit, so I may not be as much on the basketball side…Right now, I make all the decisions and that means that I better be in tune with everything that is happening with the organization.


On whether he expects to make money or have fun:

“In any investment, you expect to have fun and make money. So I don’t think this changes. Obviously this model needs to be restructured a little bit. I think that’s one of the reasons you have these discussions from a labor standpoint. I understand where (former owner) Bob (Johnson) was and the financial restraints that he has dealt with. I like to feel like I’m going to come in and see if I can make a difference. I don’t want to lose money. I got to accept that we will work our losses down to some degree, but at some point in time, I’d like to think that there’s an upside involved in this process.”

Jordan's Next Slam Dunk

On if it has bothered him that he’s not considered a successful basketball executive yet:

“Obviously you have to be rewarded for your commitment and your dedication to the game of basketball and it has been a lot of speculation and criticism about what I consider to be success or what they consider to be a failure and I can’t let that be a barometer in terms of my love for this game – where it stands. Ultimately, if you can say that I’m a bad owner and we’re winning championships, I can live with that. But if we’re not making the playoffs and we’re spending and losing money, then I have to look in the mirror and say maybe I’m not taking the necessary steps to doing what it takes to run an organization.”


On how much of a part he'll play in the upcoming labor negotiations:

"I plan on being involved. I mean, obviously I'm invested, I'm an owner right now...I'm totally aware of how successful David Stern can speak for the owners. If he asks me to participate, I will participate."

The New Jordan Rules

On whether there will be another Jordan in the marketing world:

"I can't speak for the future. I have no crystal ball. I like to think that everything that I've done from a marketing standpoint has been very helpful and very educating for me. I'd like to utilize that with the situation I'm involved...We have some very young talented players in the NBA and very capable of expanding their personality into a business. So will there be another Michael Jordan? I can't answer that question. But it was a great opportunity for me."

On LeBron changing his number away from 23 to respect Jordan:

"It was a great gesture from LeBron. I totally understand he grew up watching me, just like I grew up watching Dr. J. And in terms of what he chooses to do to pay respects to me, I greatly appreciate it...But I'm happy with my career. I'm happy with the way people have perceived me my whole career. Do I need my number retired throughout the course of the league to acknowledge what I've done? No."

Questions?  Comments?