NBA legend Michael Jordan accomplished all that there was to do on the basketball court, but his transition into basketball’s front office hasn’t always been an easy one. Jordan is starting to change that perception, and he was rewarded on Tuesday night, being named the Business Person of the Year by the Charlotte Business Journal.
Jordan became the principle owner of the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) in 2010, the first former basketball player to become the majority owner of an NBA franchise. Michael had originally purchased a small stake in the franchise in 2006. This is Jordan’s second stint in an NBA front office role, as Jordan served as a partial owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards from 2000 until 2001. Jordan’s time in the office while in Washington was heavily scrutinized, specifically for his number one overall selection of Kwame Brown in the 2001 NBA draft.
Jordan, who was raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, has worked to turn around a struggling franchise that went 34-48 in his first full season as majority owner (2010-2011), and has since posted records of 7-59, 21-61, 43-39 and 17-25 so far this season. Last year, the team made the postseason and were defeated by the Miami Heat in the first round.
Following the 2013-2014 season, Jordan took the steps necessary to bring back the “Hornets” nickname to the team, much to the delight of Charlotte fans. The original Charlotte Hornets moved to New Orleans following the 2002 season. However, the New Orleans franchise decided to change their mascot to the Pelicans, allowing the Charlotte Bobcats to become the Charlotte Hornets once more.
Jordan teared up while he told the crowd at the Charlotte Business Journal event that this honor meant a lot to him, especially following all the criticism he has received in the business world.
“I’ve been criticized in a lot of different areas from a business standpoint, but I take pride in the ideas and concepts and views that come out of this organization to build the type of basketball program… that the city of Charlotte can be proud of.”
Michael Jordan was legendary during his time as a player with the Chicago Bulls for his never-say-die, win-at-all-costs attitude. It appears that he has taken that mentality with him to the boardroom as well. Jordan told the crowd that he is with the Hornets for the long haul, and he hopes to bring multiple championships back to his home state.
“For all of the people that think that I’m in this for the short term, you better pull your socks up and just hang around — because my promise to this organization and this community is to bring a winner.”
“I left home. I came back home. And I plan on staying home.”
The other side of Jordan’s business world, Jordan Brand with Nike, continues to thrive despite Michael’s retirement as a player in 2003. Perhaps the most popular basketball shoe of the 1980s and 1990s, people are still going to great lengths to get their hands on the newest Air Jordans in 2015.
[Image via BizJournals.com]