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When it comes to hoops, there have been few, if any, who can match the significance or value of what His Airness has brought to the game. But the man widely considered the G.O.A.T. sternly believes the sport would be better served if there were more former players like him now calling the shots as he now does as the league’s only African-American owner.
“In some ways you feel good about it, that hopefully you’ve paved the road for other players to do that,” the Charlotte Hornets majority owner told ESPN on the dawn of his team’s 108-106 season-opening overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks and growing rumors league legends Dominique Wilkins, Chris Webber and Dikembe Mutombo are all part of groups interested in the purchasing the Atlanta Hawks franchise. “It is a road I would love to see other guys follow. Hopefully, they will get the opportunity.”
Indeed, the time for such inclusion is now needed as much as the added perspective such league-wide diversity could breed. Just this past summer, Donald Sterling, at one-time the league’s longest tenured owner, was forced to sell his Clippers’ franchise after video emerged of him assailing a former girlfriend “not to bring black people to my games.”
Likewise, the pending sale of the Hawks is largely fueled by the flames of a race-related scandal, namely the public release of an email penned by majority owner Bruce Levenson where he talked about the need to attract a wider white fan base and went on record in asserting “the black crowd sacred away the white.”
After struggling through a 28-120 stretch, the 51-year-old Jordan is convinced he’s finally figured out what an owner needs to bring to the table to assure his best chances of walking away successful.
“I think you have to have forward vision,” he said. “You can’t just wake up and say ‘I want to own a team.’ You have to prepare yourself for that. I went through that road that led to ownership, and I made some mistakes. But I’m better for that. I’m better because of that.”
But perhaps even more than any of the criteria laid out by Jordan, in this day and age and at a time when roughly 80 percent of all NBA players are African-American, you can’t afford to have an attitude like that clearly displayed by Donald Sterling and Bruce Levenson.
Michael Jordan is at the forefront of leading such change. With all he’s accomplished in the NBA, nothing he’s done might not be any more significant than what he’s now doing.
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