Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Michael Still Gets All the Calls In Retirement.

Dan Wetzel and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports have written a lengthy piece on complaints from other general managers that Charlotte minority owner Michael Jordan is getting to slide by on NBA regulations prohibiting contact with high school athletes by running his Jordan Brand high school game and Flight Camps.

As the article states, the basic problem is that Jordan is playing multiple roles: even though he has retired from the game, as the greatest to ever play it, he is still a valuable name in marketing and in branding; rightly or wrongly, he is the face that many observers of the NBA wish were still the dominant face of the game -- able to be everything to everyone, in every demographic.

And any complaints about this are entirely justified: although Jordan got slapped with a fine for talking about Kevin Durant recently, he ought to at least divest himself from day-to-day associations and special appearances at events for his companies with high school players, so long as he is an executive for an NBA team. However, I'm not sure those anonymous executives ought to worry too much about what he makes of it -- considering MJ's track record with the Wizards in the late 90s as president and player, where he again tried to be everything to all parties -- he's just as capable of screwing up whatever advantage is granted to him by virtue of his playing days. If the Charlotte Bobcats don't make marked improvements in the next few seasons, then we'll be talking about him in the same sentence as Isiah Thomas, Danny Ainge, and Billy King -- and this is not a category Jordan would like to be in.

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