CHARLOTTE (AP) – Michael Jordan helped build the Chicago Bulls into a winner as a player.
He’s desperate to do the same thing in Charlotte as the owner of the Hornets.
Charlotte players say Jordan spoke to them recently via video conference call about what it takes to be a champion, emphasising the need for accountability – even if it means making teammates comfortable. Those are some of the same qualities that were on display during the 10-part documentary The Last Dance, which focussed on Jordan’s sixth and final NBA championship run with the Bulls.
In the hour-long conference call that came after the conclusion of the “Last Dance”, Charlotte point guard Devonte Graham said Jordan told players they can’t be uncomfortable “calling out teammates” in practice when things aren’t going as planned or mistakes become repetitive.
“That’s going to make you guys even better,” Graham said reiterating Jordan’s remarks. “You’ll bond better. Your team is stronger. There is more of a respect level, instead of not saying anything and letting guys mess up over and over and over again, and you’re losing and losing.”
Jordan hasn’t come close to matching his success as a player since taking over majority control of the Hornets 10 years ago.
Charlotte has never made it out of the first round of the playoffs and has only won three postseason games in the Jordan era.
In an effort to stop that cycle of mediocrity, Jordan hired Mitch Kuchak as the team’s new general manager in 2018 and the Hornets have since embarked on a rebuilding process which included parting ways with three-time All-Star Kemba Walker last offseason in an effort to focus on developing young players.