SBD/Issue 49/Franchises

Bobcats Hoping To See More Of Michael Jordan In Charlotte

Jordan (l) Not Expected Back
In Charlotte Before December
Bobcats Managing Member of Basketball Operations Michael Jordan since his investment in '06, rather than becoming the "face of the franchise," has been "more of a shadow," according to Jon Saraceno in a sports-section cover story for USA TODAY.  Both Bobcats Owner Bob Johnson and coach Larry Brown "would like to see Jordan in the home arena more often." Brown: "I just want Michael really, really, really involved. The players need to see him because of what he accomplished. I talked to him about it." During Tuesday's Mavericks-Bobcats game at Time Warner Cable Arena, Jordan was not in attendance and "empty seats were everywhere." While Jordan appeared at many of the team's games earlier this season, his assistant in an e-mail said, "With his travel schedule and the holiday season upon us, I don't expect he will be back (in Charlotte) before December." Saraceno notes Johnson "relies on Jordan to resurrect pro hoops hysteria in a hotbed of college basketball, pro football and stock car racing." Jordan sightings at Bobcats games were "unusual until this season," but Johnson and Bobcats President & COO Fred Whitfield "urged Jordan to show his face." The team's home attendance so far this season is down 9% to an average of 13,040 in the 19,026-seat arena, which is 27th among the 30 NBA teams. Bobcats F Gerald Wallace said, "We have to give fans a reason to come out." Bobcats F Jared Dudley added, "I definitely think it matters when Michael Jordan is around" (USA TODAY, 11/21).

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