His team hasn’t played a game since March, but Hornets owner Michael Jordan has emerged as an important go-between for NBA team owners and the players at the Walt Disney World campus, writes Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.
As MacMullan explains, Jordan is the NBA’s only Black majority owner, and his experience as a player allows him to connect with current players in a way that other franchise owners may not be able to. According to MacMullan, Jordan spoke to NBPA president Chris Paul before this morning’s player and owner meetings to get a better understanding of what players hope to achieve going forward.
“Michael is the perfect person to be in this role,” one league official told ESPN. “He’s been a high-profile player who has won championships. He’s also the owner of a small-market team. He has great credibility both with the players and the owners.”
During Thursday morning’s Board of Governors meeting, Jordan was a “voice of reason,” according to MacMullan, who says the former Bulls superstar urged his fellow owners to listen to players’ frustrations and concerns before offering their own solutions. League sources tell ESPN that team owners unanimously supported the players and spent much of their meeting discussing how to amplify player voices.
The NBPA had been scheduled to meet this afternoon at 4:00pm eastern time – with two or three reps from each team participating in the discussion – to iron out the issues they want to address with team owners, tweets Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. A meeting between players and owners will follow at 5:00pm, with Jordan – who is the chair of the labor relations committee – set to participate.
Reports have indicated that many players favored continuing the season due to the platform the restart has created to raise awareness of social injustices, and MacMullan writes that a number of owners – including Jordan – expressed a similar sentiment.
Of course, it’s worth noting that financial considerations will also incentivize the two sides to remain on the same page going forward. Sources tell The Athletic that players would have lost approximately 15% of this year’s salary if they’d chosen to end the season, and would have been risking about 35% of their salaries for next season. The lost revenues associated with a stoppage would have hit team owners hard as well.