Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan reportedly acted as a “voice of reason” in meetings with fellow team owners, and was an important go-between in their dealings with NBA players. The two sides have negotiated ways in which the current season can continue amid the players’ call for a greater effort toward social justice.
According to ESPN‘s Jackie MacMullen, Jordan reached out to National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul ahead of the owners meeting to get a feel for what players wanted to accomplish. Moreover, he reportedly spoke with Russell Westbrook about the issues of racial inequality that prompted some to seek a cancellation of remaining games.
Players later voted to finish out the campaign, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The NBA is currently in the first-round of playoff action.
Jordan, who is currently the only Black majority owner in the league, in addition to being its most iconic former player, is said to have a high level of credibility with both groups. Those reasons makes him the ideal liaison as the two sides have worked to navigate the next steps.
Ahead of the owners’ Zoom meeting, he reportedly advised his cohorts to allow players to express their concerns and put forth their agenda before offering any of their own solutions.
“Right now, listening is better than talking,” he said, per ESPN‘s sources.
As reported earlier by The Inquisitr, there had been a feeling among some that what was left to play of the 2019-20 season was in jeopardy after the Milwaukee Bucks opted to boycott their game with the Orlando Magic in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting at the hands of police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Blake incident had brought players’ frustrations concerning repeated examples of perceived racial injustice and police brutality back to the surface. As a result, a number of them had been contemplating ending to their participation in the league’s bubble environment restart to instead focus on Black Lives Matter protests and the ongoing movement to raise awareness about systemic racism and enact positive change.
Following the Bucks’ boycott, the remainder of the day’s games were postponed, as were all of Thursday’s games, as players considered how they would proceed.
With games expected to resume this weekend, it would seem that Jordan, who also serves as the NBA Labor Relations Committee chairman, has played a significant role in essentially saving the season. League sources also indicated to ESPN that owners were unanimous in their support of the players.