NBA: Bobcats owner-to-be Jordan takes hands-on approach
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of Michael Jordan's first acts since reaching a deal to buy the Charlotte Bobcats: losing two games of H-O-R-S-E to guard Gerald Henderson.
A trash-talking Jordan attended the Bobcats' shootaround today morning before their game against Dallas, challenging the rookie Henderson to a shooting competition after the workout.
It may be a sign of a more hands-on approach for Jordan, who agreed late Friday to buy the Bobcats from owner Bob Johnson. Jordan has been a part-owner with the final say on basketball decisions since 2006, but has rarely attended practices.
The former NBA superstar spent time near the end of the workout talking with coach Larry Brown and general manager Rod Higgins. Higgins said Jordan decided against signing guard Larry Hughes, but wouldn't rule out signing a guard to add depth as they try to reach the playoffs.
While Jordan declined to speak to reporters, he did plenty of talking on the court.
Needling Henderson relentlessly for being from Duke, the North Carolina product kept clanging jumpers off the rim as Henderson quickly won the first shooting game.
But then Jordan, wearing jeans and sneakers, started getting hot. He hit a free throw with his eyes closed to take the lead in the second game.
"What do you think, I just dunked my whole career?" Jordan asked Henderson after making a 3.
Henderson remained stone-faced when Jordan hit another outside jumper.
"You've got to miss eventually," Henderson told him.
"That's what Cleveland said," replied Jordan, referring to his last-second shot for Chicago in 1989 to win a playoff series over the Cavaliers.
But Jordan did start missing, and Henderson, who has played little this season, started making shots. Teammate Gerald Wallace even started calling him Kobe Bryant.
"He didn't want to go a third game," Henderson said of Jordan. "I don't know, maybe he's going to get back in the gym and get off the golf course."
It was part of a lighthearted atmosphere as Jordan prepares to take control of the money-losing team in his home state. NBA commissioner David Stern indicated the sale could be approved by the end of the month.
"There are no secrets that Michael brought all of us in here in our current capacities," Higgins said. "I think things now will hopefully keep moving in the right direction."
Added Henderson: "With him buying the team a few days ago, it brings a different spirit to everything we're doing. It's good to have him around."