When it comes to sports “writers” I’m pretty bipolar over Jason Whitlock. On one hand, I think he’s absolutely hilarious in his unapologetic relentlessness of shoehorning himself into stories. His accusation that Derek Fisher is in cahoots with David Stern to convince the NBA players union to end the lockout by taking a deal that favors the owners is a riot, from the anonymous source to the way he peppered his rambling idea with comparisons to “The Wire.”
On the other hand, the same traits that make me laugh so much are also so incredibly abhorrent and pathetic for someone who claims to be a journalist. But that’s who Whitlock is and that’s what Fox Sports pays him to be, so we have to live with it while he “does the damn thing.” And the latest damn thing that he’s doing? Exposing Michael Jordan for being the greedy corporate pig that he is.
This is the ultimate betrayal. A league filled mostly with African-American young men who grew up wanting to be like Mike is finally getting to see just who Michael Jordan is. He’s a cheap, stingy, mean-spirited, cut-throat, greedy, uncaring, disloyal slave to his own bottom line.
Nike’s “Air Jordan” marketing strategy was based on getting black inner-city kids to worship Jordan and his shoes. Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, the Fab Five, etc., made Michael Jordan a billionaire. The NBA Players Association fought like crazy so the Bulls could make $30 million balloon payments to Jordan in each of his final two seasons in Chicago.
And now Jordan, as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, wants to be the face of ownership greed and vindictiveness.
And there’s plenty more, but you get the basic point there. You see, the Jordan that most of us knew and loved growing up – I’d say that 99% of my friends had the MJ Wingspan poster in their bedrooms in high school – is no more. The GOAT Jordan is an afterthought, because he’s been replaced by shrewd owner Jordan, and this new version of his Airness is the villain, because he owns something and wants it to make money.
The first thing we learned when the NBA locked the players out on July 1 is that 22 teams may have lost money last year. Actually, we learned that back in January, but it was the main point that the owners hammered home when the league shut down. Jordan, who owns the terrible Charlotte Bobcats, is one of those owners that allegedly lost money. So now, as he’s the biggest name among the middle market owners digging their heels in against the players, Jordan becomes the face of greed.
I’m not saying that I appreciate Jordan’s stance in this lockout – I actually think it’s quite horsesh*t, much like the rest of the owners’ stances – but I certainly understand it. The guy wants to make sure that he’s protected from his own bad decisions, just like the other owners that suck want to make sure they’re not on the hook for the terrible contracts that they give out. It’s not evil or selling out. It’s just business.