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Michael Jordan always looking out for No. 23

Nov 5, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT

Charlotte Bobcats v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

Michael Jordan’s image is taking a beating for the first time… well, really since the 1980’s. After the reports surfaced that he’s the one leading the owners to push for 47 percent (or less!) of a BRI cut for the players, he’s become a target for angst regarding the lockout from those who have paid attention enough to understand the owners’ role in this.

It’s not so much that anyone’s surprised by Jordan’s stance, everyone understood there is no one more ruthless than Jordan. It’s just the rare instance when that side of him sees the light of day. Usually its hidden. His only public reveal of his petty vindictiveness and selfish approach was his Hall of Fame speech, because, really, that’s where you want to show the worst side of yourself. This seems somehow worse because of his complete flip-flop from when he was a player. But many people have rightfully pointed out, he was for himself then, and he’s for himself now. He wanted more money as a player, and more money as an owner. He’s not inconsistent, he’s just consistently self-centered, and in today’s society, there are those that think that’s “awesome,” or “admirable,” or at least understandable. There’s a certain cache to basically saying you only care about yourself. It’s brazen and bold. Compassion and compromise are seen as weak, and a lot of people hate weakness more than they hate brutality or ego. I’m not one of them, but there are people out there that feel that way. But then, of course, there’s this from Yahoo! Sports Friday night.

Had Michael Jordan spoken up at All-Star Weekend labor meeting, union had his famous Abe Pollin quote ready to read aloud. He stayed silent.Sat Nov 05 02:59:34 via web

Oh, the GOAT will screw you, he’s just not going to tell it to your face. After all, he needs you to keep pimping those shoes! Jordan Brand! Woo!

In some ways maybe the 80’s and 90’s were better without the kind of information exposure that comes with the internet. Then everyone could go on ignoring the realities of Jordan’s character in their pursuit of his deification. None of this will ever change the fact that he was the GOAT..That’s how good he was, his performance couldn’t be marred by any personal flaw.  But if Jordan is going to sell out the very group he championed, who look up to him, who helped build the culture that allows him to remain relevant, the least he could do is give them the fist pump or a shoulder shrug in person.

Jordan’s a winner. Jordan’s going to win. And for some people, that’s all they need to keep his name and image shiny and new.

  1. acieu - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    He isn’t being ruthless just logical and business practical. one more time butt kissing of the writers of the players continues to shine through. Both you and Kurt must buy Chapstick by the carload to treat your bruised lips.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      And useful idiots for the rich and powerful continue kissing the owners’ asses. I’m sure you keep a roll of toilet paper at the ready!

    • avermaver - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:11 PM

      I think you are probably right. He has been on the record saying the game is cheated by big contracts for unproven talent. He is not all about maxing player salaries and that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    • BrownsTown - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:53 PM

      Amen, brother.

    • sonhenjz - Nov 20, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      Amen, acleu! This such bull. Jordan is no longer a player, but now an owner. Why in the world would he speak out or make decision against his own business? That is stupid, irresponsible, and illogical. He also knows that without him, these players would NEVER be making the kind of money they do now. The big difference between him and these players is that MJ EARNED every cent he made by creating millions of dollars in revenue for every owner in the NBA. This is not the case with this group of spoiled brats. The owners are losing money because only a handful of teams are making any money now.

      Because of Lebron, Cleveland has lost millions of dollars and are in the red, and that’s just ONE team, but there are many others in the NBA in the same situation. The owners are stuck paying out multi-million-dollar contracts to players who haven’t earned ANYTHING yet and are not drawing people or TV stations to the arenas either. To try and make this about Jordan is utterly ridiculous. All this is really about is these selfish, overpaid group of kids who haven’t accomplished anything as players, feeling that they’re entitled to keep getting paid while everybody else is losing money.

      I feel that this is one of the biggest mistakes these players could ever make, because in this economy, people don’t need basketball to exist from day to day. Most people’s heart doesn’t bleed for a bunch millionaires being more greedy. I know I sure don’t.

  2. brooklynbulls - Nov 5, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Ironically, the the person who drew me to the sport in the first place is starting to turn me against it. i worshipped him as a kid in Chicago and still loyal to the Bulls an adult New Yorker. He’s still the greatest to ever play the game, but the realization of who this man truly is has been a rude awakening.

    • berto55 - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      I don’t get what you don’t understand. The Bobcats are losing $7M per year. Fine, give the players a bigger percentage of the money, there won’t be a league for them to play in then. You could argue to just fold the Bobcats. but then there are 15 less jobs. Hardline? It sounds to me like survival. You can’t say MJ is being a hardliner when he is trying to find a way to keep his business afloat and provide hundreds of jobs.

      • danielcp0303 - Nov 5, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        If the Bobcats are losing 7m a year and the players have already given back 5% of BRI…then the Bobcats would be making money, except for the fact they have an incompetent front office. Just like a lot of other teams. People shouldn’t buy teams if A) they don’t have enough capital, B) Can’t run a franchise and make it profitable, C) Can’t put a winning team on the floor. Hold these owners and GM’s accountable for their screwups. Each percentage point is roughly 40 million per year, do the math. I don’t want to hear anyone who sides with the owners complaining in 7 or 8 years when the deal has expired and teams are still losing money. It’s got little to do with BRI, and mostly to do with poorly run teams. Bad owners will still find a way to lose money. (or not make enough which is the case here)

      • brooklynbulls - Nov 5, 2011 at 11:21 AM

        I expressed no lack of understanding. You fail to understand the premise of my post. There have been a # of revelations about MJ’s character post-bulls that I didnt see when I was younger.
        Mike being at the forefront of these mismanaging greedy owners adds to that. How about efficiently running your team instead of demanding a 10% paycut from the players he so passionately fought for when he played. Its no secret that other than representing his brand, MJ has been nowhere near as successful as a businessman off the court as he was a player on the court. I like the 50/50 split and think the players should run with it. Its all fine and good to keep your business afloat, but that means one needs to do a better job running the franchise. And as far as providing jobs, thats a joke. You’re dillusional if you think Mike and any other owner or player is fighting for the little people.

      • borderline1988 - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:05 PM


        While you certainly aren’t wrong about how owners should be held accountable for their screwups, I find it ironic that you don’t say the same thing about the players themselves, especially since they are arguing for a split (BRI concept) of the NBA’s income.

        I have no problem with the players taking a cut of the business. Just they should also partake in the risk of running the business.

      • danielcp0303 - Nov 5, 2011 at 11:35 PM


        Well if you think about it…the owners agree that the players should get anywhere from 43-50% of the BRI. So if the owners think the players should get a lot of that BRI, are they stupid or being realistic? I think that puts to rest the argument that the players shouldn’t get around half of the cut. And actually the owners are arguing for a split, trying to get back at least 7%.

    • stayhigh_247 - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:24 AM

      Cmon Brooklynbulls, I grew up in the same city as you during that incredible Bulls run. You can’t say that you know who MJ truly is…were just fans, we dont know dude! He’s a business owner, his job is to turn a profit like every other business owner. He’s the only owner to ever play so of course it looks like betrayal but only to a child, as an adult you should understand this. In fact I will go as far as to say that MJ’s Jumpman should be the logo of the NBA. Why? Because he carried the league into incredible profitability, which prompted owners to start offering ridiculous contracts to average, non MJ like players. Hence the lockout, I love Agent Zero but seriously? Rashard Lewis? etc stupid dumb contracts! How many rings do they have combined? Lebron? MJ is doing what any business owner should be doing, do I agree with it absolutely not! I side with the players, because they didn’t create this mess and if not for the KG’s, Kobes, Lebrons nobody would even watch. Jerry Buss doesn’t fill up Staples, Reinsdorf doesn’t fill up the UC, D Rose handles that. But back to my initial point, we are just fans, we dont “truly” know any of these people.
      Not to attack you but thats a dumb statement!

  3. santolonius - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    how about we wait to hear jordan’s side of the story before we a) determine he is wrong to seek 47/53 and b) use phrases like “petty vindictiveness” to describe his motives.

  4. Gordon - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    @santolonius…don’t count on it. I have been amazed how slanted the coverage is on PBT. You would think an NBA player was writing all these posts.

    At least PFT was, for the most part, pretty balanced during the NFL lockout.

    • Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale - Nov 5, 2011 at 6:30 PM

      In the beginning of the NFL Lockout PFT was spewing player slanted propaganda as well. But only when their readers started turning against the site, did Florio start taking a more balanced approached to their coverage.

      These guys on PBT are just trying to drive up their page view numbers by posting the most controversial non-sense they can. I can’t say I blame them, but they are making fools of themselves in the process. Because they are just as PFT was, on the wrong side of this issue, and the fans can see right through their BS.

      I’m a fan, so I’m on the fans side. We foot the bill on everything that is the NBA. Without the fans there is no NBA. The players should think about this, instead of taking the fans for granted.

  5. 40thstreetblack - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    Actually, Jordan was widely considered one of the best bargains in the NBA until the Bulls second threepeat when he made $30 million per season, before that most of Jordan’s fortune was made through endorsements. Also, Jordan is the owner of a struggling small market team so you’re right he probably is pushing for the best deal possible for his ballclub, who wouldn’t in that position.

  6. delius1967 - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    Personally, I have always found Jordan sort of loathsome, and for that matter don’t consider him to be the greatest player of all time — that would be Chamberlain — but I really don’t get the venom being spewed at him here. It’s like they feel personally betrayed by him and are sniping and snarking like a couple of fishwives. His position is perfectly logical and sensible.

  7. flyerscup2010 - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    MJ’s a clown, and i get no gratification out of saying it because it only serves to make me sad. the real story here to me is that the teflon coat is apparently gone. there was a time where plenty COULD be said about michael, but i dont think anyone dared to say it. now, even the players who, at least among the older group that now leads the union, grew up idolizing him aren’t compelled to show him the sometimes-blind reverence that he once commanded. if you really think about it, there’s something almost shocking about how things have changed, and going back to his hall of fame speech, i do think it’s self-inflicted.

  8. iamdanabnormal - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    interesting how so many people in this country hate anything that even resembles socialism yet on their owners’ side under the premise that every team should be guaranteed to make a profit and screw the players. so i can walk in, buy a team, hire the worst player personnel staff and throw money away like it’s graffiti and still reap rewards? how is that fair?

    as much as people like to believe they root for teams and not the player, let’s face it. sports need their stars. that’s who drives the game and adds to the allure of the sport. owners need to realise that. what better example do you want then cleveland? before lebron and after lebron.

    you’re entitled to make money in any endeavour you pursue, be it owning a sports team or something else. business is always a risk and there is always a chance you roll snake eyes.

  9. iknowzeroaboutsports - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Greatest hall of fame speech ever.

  10. toosano - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Who care about basketball. I predict it will be the first sports league to fail.

  11. kandh2004 - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    I read this site everyday for every sport and this is the very worst writing I have seen so far. To talk about Jordan like this makes me sick and NBC should just get Matt Moore off of this website. It’s funny how Jordan made this league(along with Magic and Bird) now he is wrong for wanting to save it. I hope the cut you get Matt, from the NBAPA is worth shitting on a legend like this. And one more question Matt does Hunter and Fisher ask you to spit or swallow

    • cordae - Nov 6, 2011 at 9:24 AM

      Or does Jordan ask YOU to spit or swallow? He is not God, just arguably the best player of all time. It’s no secret that Jordan is selfish. Its one thing to take up for Jordan the player, but NOT Jordan the person. I’ve always questioned his motives, from the shoe prices, to why he would want to take over a team thats lost money before he even arrived there. Stop letting his on-court play cloud your judgement of who he truly is. Like I said before he’s the GOAT, not God. He’s not excluded from moral-criticism just as you and I aren’t. How else do you explain him trying to belittle the players by diminishing the same deal he faught for as one? Hell it isnt their fault owning a team isn’t what he thought it would be..

      • sonhenjz - Nov 20, 2011 at 5:25 PM

        In truth, you don’t know Jordan as a person, so how can you sit there at your computer and post your judgmental comments about someone’s personal character? There is no one posting that MJ is God, but for you to be “questioning someone’s motives” in their personal lives as if you know them, shows that you sit in judgment as if you are God. You seem to have your own personal issues that has absolutely nothing to do with Jordan, since you don’t even know the man. And that speaks a lot about what your opinions are based on; no experience with someone or something makes your opinions baseless conjecture and worthless when it comes to reality.

  12. rreducla1 - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    He isn’t being ruthless just logical and business practical.


    Then he needs to step up and go public with his demands for more revenue sharing, and put the onus on the big market owners to pony up, The players have given back 5 BRI points. Taking more from the players is the easy way out–which is why the owners, including Jordan, are going that way.

  13. mike017329 - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    This is probably just owner’s tactic to gain a upper hand in the negotiations since some big name players mention decertification. Realistic, the owners realized there’s no way the players would accept 47%. If anything they probably just think David Stern showed his 50:50 card too soon and now they have to settle for 49%. I think a deal will be coming pretty soon.

  14. rreducla1 - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:57 PM


    Maybe. I think i’ts hard to read at this point, It seems like they should either settle at 51 with the owners getting more traction on system issues, or at 50 with the system issues going more towards keepers for the players.

    But, there are undoubtedly some owners, like Gilbert, Jordan and Sarver, who would rather tank the season than play it out, given the states of their rosters. Obviously, there are others, like Cuban, Buss, Dolan, Arison, and Heisley, who want the season starting ASAP.

    So it’s tough to call.

    • mike017329 - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      agreed 100%. hopefully they will find the middle ground today.

  15. Amadeus - Nov 5, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Ask your boss to give you 47% of the company’s sales and see how long you keep your job. Most NBA teams are losing money, the players average $5.2 million, more than twice MLB and NFL, and they’re still trying to squeeze more out of a golden goose that’s rapidly losing its luster. Screw em all.

    • danielcp0303 - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      Not really a good comparison…at all

    • derekjetersmansion - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:46 PM

      Anyone can do your job. Not everyone can play in the NBA.

  16. pistolpete0903 - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    It would be simple if people just realize the following:
    A great talent does not automatically make a great human (not that I am saying MJ is wrong).

  17. mgscott - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Cleveland gives it’s best to MJ for stalling the season

  18. explosionsauce - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Jordan can do no wrong

  19. zillogical - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    Just wondering. If the players want %50 of BRI, does that mean they are willing to give up %50 of what ever money they make from endorsements and other activities they are paid to be part of? They wouldn’t be getting those endorsements if the NBA didn’t make them famous.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:41 PM

      I don’t know, are the owners willing to give up 50% of the money they make on side deals from owning an NBA team? Like Dan Gilbert getting casino’s approved right next to Quicken Loan Arenas? Or the money Ratner/Prokhorov will make off Atlantic Yards real estate deal? And that’s a long list, too

  20. rreducla1 - Nov 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Ask your boss to give you 47% of the company’s sales and see how long you keep your job


    These kinds of comps never work, since playing in the NBA is like very, very, very few other jobs, and the NBA economic set-up is also unusual.

    This kind of post just says, “Players making a lot of money pisses me off.”

    That’s OK, but trust me on this one: we know that already. You can keep that to yourself.

    • Amadeus - Nov 5, 2011 at 5:53 PM

      Lame response. You’re not making an argument, much less refuting my point. In a nation in which 1 out of 10 people are out of work, 45 million are on food stamps and millions have lost their homes, the salaries of pro athletes are so out of whack with reality that it bears no further comment except to say that America has no sense of values any more.

      • brooklynbulls - Nov 5, 2011 at 6:43 PM

        But its not out of whack with reality. In this world your pay is based on the amount of money you generate, not the value of your work. And just by buying tickets, jerseys, watching games, or even patronizing basketball websites, you’re contributing to that revenue…..Doctors, teachers, etc would be more deserving of some of this money but the bottom line is sports/entertainment brings in the dollars. So why complain?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 5, 2011 at 8:10 PM

        Aren’t you kind of making the point for the owners. Yes, in this world income is generally derived by the amount of money you can bring into the business. If players aren’t bringing in enough money to have the current system be sustainable, should they not give a large chunk of the revenue back to make the overall enterprise profitable? Furthermore, should they not abandon the status quo and work toward a system that is sustainable? You didn’t say this, but it is hysterical to me when people say that owners should be competent enough to grind out a profitable business…however, at the same time argue that player guaranteed contracts should remain. Should the players not be competent enough to continue to bring money to make the system sustainable?

  21. sydneysachs - Nov 5, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Nice sentence, Matt:

    “It’s not so much that anyone’s surprised by Jordan’s stance, everyone understood there is no one more ruthless than Jordan.”

    Only it’s not… a sentence. Wow, that’s pathetic.

  22. cameralogic - Nov 5, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Oh, and this: “There’s a certain cache to basically saying you only care about yourself.”

    I think you meant to say “Cachet” A cache is where MJ hides his money.

  23. bearsstillsuck - Nov 5, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    who cares as long as he puts out Space Jam 2

  24. rreducla1 - Nov 5, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Lame response. You’re not making an argument, much less refuting my point. In a nation in which 1 out of 10 people are out of work, 45 million are on food stamps and millions have lost their homes, the salaries of pro athletes are so out of whack with reality that it bears no further comment except to say that America has no sense of values any more.


    You’re not making an argument–you’re just venting your emotions about how much money pro jocks make, and the state of the US economy, like millions of other people on the internet do every day. NBA players get paid a lot, like other performers, such as actors, singers, etc. because they, and the infrastructures that support them, can sell their product/talent simultaneously to millions of people through multiple outlets: spectating in person, watching on TV, watching streaming video or listening to streaming audio on-line, and, of course, talking about them on commercial websites like this one. If your job were like that–if it were a talent and part of a large media structure and many cared about it and liked to watch it /talk about it, you would make millions of dollars as well.

    It’s fine if athletes’ salaries bother you, but coming on to an NBA site to complain about it, if in fact you feel that way, would seem to be a waste of your time.

  25. tdull225 - Nov 5, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Matt Moore is showing his ignorant side. This article is really dumb.

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