Report: Jordan emerging as hard-liner
Michael Jordan, once the NBA’s greatest player but now just another money-losing owner of a small-market team, is adamant about not giving any more concessions to players in their ongoing labor dispute, according to The New York Times.
Jordan, the Charlotte Bobcats owner, has emerged as a leader of a faction of 10 to 14 hard-line owners who are determined to cap the players’ share of basketball-related income at 50 percent, the Times reported Friday.
All 29 owners are set to meet Saturday morning in New York City before the NBA and the players union return to the negotiating table in the afternoon.
About 10 to 14 owners, led by Jordan, are expected to reiterate their stance to NBA commissioner David Stern, which might make it more difficult to negotiate an end to the lockout.
The players received 57 percent in the last labor deal and have so far offered to reduce that share to 52.5. However, the hard-line owners wanted the players’ share capped at 47 percent and are upset with the 50-50 proposal, according to the Times.
Jordan was fined $100,000 this summer for speaking publicly about the need to reduce costs but has largely stayed in the background until now.
The Times notes that during the last labor crisis, in 1998, Jordan — then a superstar who made $33 million in his final season with the Chicago Bulls — famously challenged Abe Pollin, the Washington Wizards owner at the time, reportedly bellowing, “If you can’t make a profit, you should sell your team.”
Jordan has been Charlotte’s majority owner for two years after buying a piece of the team five years ago. The Bobcats have reportedly been losing around $7 million per season.
The New York Daily News reported Friday that a minority stake in the Bobcats has been put up for sale by one of Jordan’s partners, but Jordan is not interested in selling his stake in the franchise.