x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Jordan can make Bobcats a winner

This current gamble on the Bobcats is certainly the biggest risk he has ever taken, although there is tremendous upside if things work out well.

The Charlotte Bobcats were briefly on the market but it turns out the franchise were never really for sale. From the sounds of things, the Bobcats ownership were just waiting for Michael Jordan to step up and buy the team. While it has since been reported that Jordan is looking for some backers, he is spending a great deal of his own money as well. Some suggest his "Airness" has put up more US$200million (Dh734m).

Jordan has long been a fan of games of chance. This current gamble on the Bobcats is certainly the biggest risk he has ever taken, although there is tremendous upside if things work out well. The Bobcats play in the traditional hotbed of American hoops. North Carolina is home to the greatest amateur basketball rivalry in the US, between the men's basketball teams from the University of North Carolina and Duke University.

When the NBA made its first go-around in Charlotte with the Hornets franchise, they set league attendance records. The lone problem was that the Hornets' ownership group wanted a new arena with all the mod cons, including luxury suites. The city of Charlotte would not pony up the money for the building and so the team moved to New Orleans. In retrospect, the relocation did not turn out so well for the Hornets.

The big challenge facing Jordan will be to increase the Bobcats' fan base. While reports are somewhat vague, the Bobcats have never been the hot entertainment ticket in Charlotte. The team's attendance figures rank among the NBA's worst. One of Jordan's first orders of business will be to get more people out to the stadium and more businesses involved as corporate sponsors. With a state of the art arena in hand, if Jordan can increase fan interest and stimulate sales of luxury seating, the team should be off and running.

The previous owners were unsuccessful in their attempts to increase cash flow, but then again, none of those guys is Michael Jordan. It is also important to remember that Jordan is the successful local boy. That fact alone ought to count for something. In the past, Jordan was criticised for being an absentee member of the Bobcats' executive. I have to wonder if he was just playing coy. Maybe he did not want to go out and hustle for a business that wasn't his own.

Jordan is savvy enough to have made this distinction. Now that he is the owner, I would venture to say that Jordan will be out doing the full sales job at all times. As a pitchman, Jordan was one of the greatest of all time and I expect more of that brilliance. Charlotte is considered one of the nicer places to live in the United States. The climate is temperate and the city is surprisingly cosmopolitan, no doubt a product of all the universities in the area. In short, it has got to be one of the better NBA cities to play in.

With the legendary Jordan at the helm, I would guess that NBA free agents would love to ply their trade for the greatest player of the modern era. Charlotte should have no trouble attracting top talent. When, as a player, Jordan decided to be the best, he did everything he could to attain that goal. Why would this time be anything different? All basketball fans know better than to doubt Michael Jordan. He is a winner through and through.

With his solid track record to go by, one has to like his chances with the Bobcats. @Email:sports@thenational.ae