SBD/March 22, 2013/Franchises

Michael Jordan Pushes Bobcats To Be More Active In Charlotte Community

Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan's status as "Charlotte’s biggest celebrity -- and perhaps the hardest one to spot around town" may be changing thanks to his mandate that the Bobcats "become more involved in the community’s social fabric," according to Mark Price of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Jordan "led by example Thursday by making appearances at three high schools in three hours, announcing a series of surprises for participants in the YMCA’s Y Achievers mentoring program." One announcement included a $200,000 gift to the program "from the team and its broadcast partner, Fox Sports Carolinas/Sports South." Meanwhile, Bobcats players and staff "fanned out for a day of service at six Charlotte-Mecklenburg elementary and middle schools." The community activities are "part of a new push to improve the Bobcats’ reputation for anemic community involvement efforts, something that has bothered Jordan since he took over as majority owner from Bob Johnson." Jordan said, "It means more to the community when they see you taking the lead in the charge. ... It's about showing that my words are not hollow." Price writes the organization "hasn't managed to endear itself to the community" like the NFL Panthers. Bobcats VP/Community Affairs Kim Henderson said that her "once-nonexistent" department now has a staff of four. Price writes Henderson's ambitions "are great," which is what led to "a Wednesday night affair that brought community relations executives from 130 corporations and nonprofits together for a discussion of what the team can provide in the way of community support" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/22).
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