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Unveiling the Player Within: Retracing Michael Jordan’s 13-Year Legacy with the Hornets – An Oral Perspective

On Wednesday, after a 4,970-day reign, the Charlotte Hornets will play a game without Michael Jordan as their majority owner. It marks the end of an era for the franchise, where the legendary basketball player not only had an association with the team but also served as its leader. This summer, the NBA Board of Governors approved the sale of the Hornets to a group led by Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin, ultimately bringing an end to Jordan’s 13-year control over the team. However, he will continue to hold a minority ownership stake.

Although Jordan’s ownership did not bring much prosperity to the Hornets, the team did achieve their first and last victory under his leadership. Throughout Jordan’s tenure, the Hornets won 41.7 percent of their games and made the playoffs only three times, including the season when Jordan took control. The franchise underwent various changes, including a name change from the Charlotte Bobcats to the Hornets and five coaching changes.

Despite the lack of success, Jordan’s impact extended beyond wins and losses. He made a significant impact on the community through various events and initiatives. Former players recall his dedication to the Charlotte community, such as organizing turkey drives and personally participating in community events. They respected his involvement considering his status as a basketball icon.

The Athletic interviewed 12 former players to gain insights into their experiences playing for the Bobcats and Hornets under Jordan’s ownership. They described meeting Jordan for the first time, emphasizing his notable presence that commanded attention whenever he was around. Players were honored to have him as their boss since he was not just an investor but also had the final say in basketball decisions.

Throughout their conversations, players shared their personal encounters with Jordan. The impact of meeting their childhood idol was profound, leaving them in awe of the opportunity to be part of the same organization as the legendary Michael Jordan. His interactions ranged from casual lunches, giving pointers, to sending congratulatory texts. His presence during practices and games amplified the intensity and motivated players to perform at their best in hopes of impressing him.

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