NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan arrives for NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 5, 2011 in New York City. Players have been seeking 52.5 percent of revenues in their favor but owners want a deal at 53-47 along with a hard sallary cap. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
The NBA Lockout has now endured a little over four months. One hundred thirty-two days. Three thousand, one hundred sixty-eight hours. One hundred ninety thousand eighty minutes.
And it seems like I've felt them all tick by.
For some reason, football just doesn't interest me much anymore. And schoolwork coupled with actual work at a job are mounting. My free time is at a premium. I spend most of it on Twitter during the nights. The time is usually reserved for NBA basketball watching, analysis and writing, but there is nothing to be had there anymore because of CBA negotiations run amuck.
I would sacrifice my left hand (I can't dribble with it anyway) to end the lockout amicably for both sides.
So when I read the New York Times report that the Bobcats' owner and chairman Michael Jordan was leading a hard-line faction of owners staunch on giving players no more than 50 percent of Basketball Related Income (BRI), I was frustrated because he was extending the lockout on what seemed to be the main issue when the owners had made so few concessions and still wanted more.
I admit that I don't agree with his position based on how the upcoming CBA is be positioned with much greater revenue sharing and the NBA dominating the negotiations. This is greed at the cost of jobs and the sport's popularity, both directly related to the league's success. And yet, I find myself understanding where he's coming from, more or less. And I don't exactly blame him for it.
Michael Jordan is no real enigma. His life is more public than just about any other NBA team owner. You can read about him punching teammates, his divorce, his whatever. His fire is not a simple passion. It's an all-consuming obsession. Losing is no option he will willingly take without a fight, in both the figurative and literal sense.
This movement to the front of "Which NBA Owner Is The Supervillain Today?" for Jordan isn't just about him trying to win the CBA negotiations. He is not just trying to squeeze the players for another penny just to say he did. This is about winning for his team and putting the franchise in a better position for the future. Those extra percentage points of BRI strengthen the parachute for small market teams. I don't personally agree with lengthening the lockout for this purpose with the deal so heavily in the owners' favor, but I can see why Jordan is doing it. The Bobcats can use every bit of leeway they can get, as unfair as it may be for the players. An unsustainable setting for small market teams as in the previous CBA is not something I want.
These moves Jordan is trying to make are not made in a vacuum. The NBA, as it stood before, did not cultivate a healthy relationship with small market teams. Sure, you can say he should have known that before buying the team. But he's also trying to change the system to ameliorate the situation. His hand has been led in this direction and he's taking it a step further to utilize the leverage he has with the other team owners that support the faction.
It's who he is. As he was during his NBA career, he is now and likely will be forever. To be shocked by his recent actions is, frankly, ignorant.
Looking back at Jordan's comments to Abe Pollin in 1998, he may seem hypocritical, but perspectives change based on the situations (Hell, I used to support Larry Brown with all my heart). Times have changed and Jordan now finds himself on the other side of negotiations. No longer a player, Jordan is now a businessman. He undoubtedly wouldn't say the same thing now as he did in '98, being an owner, but he is still the same person, intrinsically, that he was in 1998.
Michael Jordan is one ruthless cat and will fight for all he can get. I can't blame him for that.