As a player, Michael Jordan took the lead on countless occasions. Teammates got on his coattails and went along for the ride. This past weekend, he showed that he can do the same as an owner.
Jordan was the first NBA owner to respond to the Donald Sterling fiasco. While other owners disappeared to wait for Commissioner Adam Silver to do something so they can hide behind him, Jordan stepped up and took the lead.
I look at this from two perspectives — as a current owner and as a former player. As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. I’m confident that Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly.
As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA – or anywhere else – for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level. -Michael Jordan on Sterling controversy
Those who have followed Jordan throughout his career would probably be shocked that this statement came from him. He was often criticized as a player for staying out of politics and controversy.
He still gets hounded for his inaction during the 1990 North Carolina Senate race. Many looked to Jordan to support the African American Democrat, former mayor of Charlotte Harvey Gantt. Gantt was looking to unseat race-baiter Senator Jesse Helms.
Jordan was approached by Gantt for support. Jordan declined, saying later that “Republicans buy sneakers too.”
This is a different Jordan now. He has supported political candidates. He invites the controversy.
In the NBA club of owners, Jordan acted the same way he did as a player and showed the others how it’s done. He came out hard and strong against Sterling and expects the Commissioner and the other owners to do so as well.
Since Jordan spoke on Sunday, two other owners have spoken up. Portland Trail Blazers owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said “The kind of statements attributed to Clippers owner Donald Sterling, if true, are abhorrent, and not acceptable for the owner of an NBA franchise…We at the Trail Blazers reject any and all such sentiments.”
Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis also spoke up. “Hate speech demonstrates an ignorance that is unacceptable, and I implore all of us to help eliminate any form of discrimination.”
Jordan is demonstrating that he can also lead as an owner. and not just as a player.