Don’t Sell….out, Mike! Michael Jeffrey Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest basketball player in the history of the game, has maintained a less than all-star performance as an NBA executive.  From his head scratching draft selections, to his coaching hires, to his inability to attract star talent to the Queen City, Mike seemed to have left his midas touch with that winning jumper over Byron Russell in Utah. But this latest news out of Charlotte that MJ is selling ownership interests of his NBA franchise to Gabe Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim has to be the most damaging yet to his reputation.   Michael Jordan has held a special place in the African American community since he demoralized the great Larry Bird in his legendary playoff performance in 1986.  His Air Jordan commercials with our beloved Spike Lee gave personality to his polished image.  His ability to single-handedly carry the NBA as Magic and Bird were retiring had some of us calling him Black Jesus. Even though we weren’t Chicago Bulls fans, Mike was so special that we all rooted for the Bulls.  Number 23 became the single greatest number in sports.  Grown men were singing the jingle “I wanna be like Mike” in grocery stores.  We loved Mike so much and all we wanted was for him to love us back.  We didn’t stop loving Mike or buying his shoes when young Black men were killing for a pair of them.  Not even when Mike remained silent on issues in the Black community.  Mike stayed on the sideline for the Rodney King riots, remained neutral in the    North Carolina Senate race against the racist segregationist Jesse Helms, and avoided endorsing Barack Obama in 2007 as this nation’s first Black President.  In 2010, His Airness became the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets and has remained the only African American majority owner in any of the four major sports.  Although his teams have underperformed on the court, he has made millions from the monumental increase in value of the franchise.  It’s estimated that the Hornets value has increased a billion dollars since he brought the team from the only other majority Black owner in sports, Bob Johnson. A few years ago the NBA almost imploded when privately recorded conversations of the LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks were released publicly.  The NBA condemned his comments and moved swiftly to force Mr. Sterling to sell the franchise.  But, as much as we supported the sale for what was a record 2 billion dollars, it did absolutely nothing to benefit the African American community, as the Clippers were sold to another white male billionaire.  That brings us back to Michael, who probably wouldn’t win a Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice award, but he is the only African American majority owner left in US major sports.           For Mike to sell any part of his franchise to anyone other than African Americans is an insult and a tremendous blow to our efforts to sit in the owner’s box.  Before he became minority owner of the Hornets, he was basically frozen out of the exclusive owner’s club.  Being considered the greatest to ever play the game didn’t even matter when his offers to purchase other franchises that were on the market.  Coincidentally, his admittance as a full fledged member in the owner’s box was by Black billionaire Robert Johnson who was willing to let Mike in when others shut him out.  We know MJ didn’t forget how the Washington Wizard’s late owner Abe Pollin humiliated him by refusing to allow him to buy back his ten percent interest in the team he played for in DC.  Just as Mike received right of first refusal to buy the majority of the Charlotte Hornets shares when he came in as a minority shareholder with Johnson, I’m sure that Gabe and Dan have demanded the same from him.  And if this sale is ratified by the NBA, we can forget about ever owning a piece of the NBA again.     Don’t Sell….out , Mike!

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