Michael Jordan has some credibility with NBA players, what with the six rings and being the GOAT and all.
Michael Jordan also is an NBA owner.
The Charlotte Hornets’ owner is getting a lot of credit for helping get the tentative new Collective Bargaining Agreement to this point (it awaits the formality of approval by the players and owners). From NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner:
“It’s an emotional endeavor on both sides,” said Cleveland Cavaliers forward James Jones, secretary-treasurer of the National Basketball Players Association. “So you have to speak on the same frequency. Mike is able to do that, because he understands the opposition.”
Union president Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers said: “I think he speaks from a great place, because he’s been on both sides of the table as a player and as an owner. It’s always good conversation, good to hear him give his opinion on things. Just like with anything, you disagree on some things, agree on some.”
Atlanta Hawks wing Kyle Korver, a member of the union’s committee, said of Jordan: “He’s helped create and generate conversations that in previous [negotiations] were really hard to come by. There was, at times, a lot of frustration, a lot of anger, on both sides, and everybody trying to hold onto what is ours. One of the reasons why this negotiation has gone so much better is because there has been so much more communication. And to be able to do that you’ve got to have people who know both sides. And Michael’s been really involved, he’s really added to the process.”
It wasn’t just these players, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also praised Jordan. He has a unique perspective, and he can help both sides understand where the other side is coming from more clearly. Which is often the hard part of any negotiation — both sides need to feel like they win for any labor deal to be struck, and Jordan can help facilitate that.
That said, Jordan doesn’t deserve the most credit, Adam Silver should get that for the renegotiated television deal. What really made this deal come together was the flood of money that came into the system with the new TV deal last summer — everybody’s making more money, nobody wanted to screw that up, so they found a way to make it work.