We’ve reached the point in the NBA lockout where the argument has gone well past contentious.
There’s been name-calling, public jockeying and both sides doing their best to paint the other in a negative light.
Now is the time when we need someone that could mediate the two sides. Someone that has seen both viewpoints — as a player and an owner — who can offer some much-needed rationale to the conversation.
Michael Jordan should be that someone. Jordan made millions from the NBA, was the league’s most marketable star, and once famously told Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin during the 1998 lockout, “If you can’t make a profit, you should sell your team.”
With statements like that, you’d think Jordan would have some perspective. He should know what it’s like as a player, and talk some sense into his mega-millionaire owner friends during these negotiations.
Instead, Jordan, who can’t make a profit, isn’t selling his team. Instead he’s going into the player’s pockets
Jordan has been vocal about his desire for players to take less of the basketball-related income. It’s been reported that the owners want the players to take a 50-50 split of basketball-related income. If it were up to Jordan, he said he’d have player’s take just 47 percent.
From his multi-million dollar salaries, to endorsements he garnered from playing in the NBA, Jordan has made hundreds of millions of dollars from the NBA. In his final season with the Chicago Bulls, he made $30 million alone. To take such a harsh stance against the players is both hypocritical and wrong.
But this is just standard practice for Jordan. He’s the same guy that once said, when he was criticized for not speaking up for African-Americans that “Republicans buy sneakers too.”
NBA players have called out Jordan for his hypocrisy via Twitter. Wizards guard Nick Young tweeted “I’m not wearing Jordans no more. Can’t believe what I just seen and heard from MJ. Elvis Done Left The Building.”
Golden State Warriors rookie wing Klay Thompson tweeted “You think the 1996 MJ would do this. Straight hypocrite bro.”
Thompson’s right. The Jordan of 1996 would never do this. Jordan would’ve insisted that the players deserved more money.There has been reported dissention within the player’s union as they try to decide if they plan on taking the owner’s current proposed deal. Many of the top players have been pushing for the union to decertify, which would put this most recent deal – and the NBA season in general — in serious jeopardy.
Top players like Dwyane Wade have been vocal against the owners throughout the negotiations. Wade has set his sights on calling out David Stern, and hasn’t gone after owners specifically like Jordan. It’s probably no coincidence that Wade is a member of the Jordan Brand, so he may not want to voice displeasure with someone writing him checks.
The entire argument calls for both sides to take a step back and start figuring out ways to get a resolution. Rather than public bickering, there needs to be people at the table that aren’t looking out for themselves, but rather the general health of the league.
Jordan has shown through his words and actions, that he’s clearly in this for himself. He’s one of 10 to 15 small market owners that want to overhaul the system. Jordan owns the Charlotte Bobcats, one of the league’s least valuable teams. Rather than run his team like the successful teams he played on (building around a couple of stars with building blocks and valuable team players), Jordan rather pad his own bank account at the expense of the players.
It’s sickening. To Jordan, taking back millions of dollars from the players makes perfect sense. He’s made so much from the league why not take more?
But for the players he’s taking money from, they will never come close to making what Jordan did. They don’t have the same earning power, the same endorsement opportunities, or the type of talent to command the contracts that Jordan did.
The ruthlessness that made Jordan such a great player is also making him an evil owner. He knows what he’s doing isn’t fair. He also knows that he’s now in the position to hurt the players and make them cave. Rather than show compassion for his player fraternity, Jordan would rather chum it up with the penny-pinching owners over rounds of golf and parties on yachts.
Jordan could be a valuable piece in getting the lockout resolved. Instead he’s responsible for standing in the way.
For his entire career, Jordan has shown that it’s never been about black or white. It’s blatantly obvious that the only color he cares about is green.