Michael Jordan declines comment on Donald Sterling

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The legacy of “Republicans buy sneakers, too” – even if Michael Jordan never actually said it – lives on.

Jordan, now the Charlotte Bobcats owner, is again avoiding controversy. This time, it’s Donald Sterling’s alleged racism.

Times have changed since Jordan’s heyday. The NBA’s biggest stars, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, both spoke out against Sterling today.

Jordan is not required to give his opinion on the issue, though if NBA owners have at all been told not to comment, that didn’t stop the Heat’s Micky Arison or the Spurs’ Peter Holt. Jordan could have done the same.

He chose not to.

That doesn’t mean he condones what Sterling allegedly said, and he could always offer his opinion later.

But it says something that Jordan initially declined comment when LeBron and Kobe did not. How NBA superstars handle controversy has changed, and it will be interesting to see how the league responds to that shift.