Michael Jordan has done a ton of late to change his image as an NBA team owner. Mitch Kupchak reflects on his relationship with LaMelo Ball.
Jordan has been a minority owner in the NBA since 1999, with his first ownership gig coming in Washington. The Bullets fired him from his position shortly after his final retirement in 2003.
Not to be deterred, Jordan came back to the NBA world as a minority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats back in 2006. He subsequently bought a majority stake 4 years later. MJ currently owns over 80% of the Hornets – a franchise that has grown by an order of magnitude this decade.
Jordan proved to be a meddlesome owner and basketball mind during his tenure in Washington. He exhibited the same qualities in his initial years with Charlotte as well. This meant that he was also ridiculed a ton by basketball fans for his ways.
MJ learned to keep himself less involved with Hornets team affairs as the years went by. But he’s obviously still got a soft spot when it comes to certain players in his squad. GM Mitch Kupchak confirmed as much in a tell-all interview with Alex Kennedy recently.
Kupchak is one of the architects of the league as we know it today. He was in a front office role with the Lakers during the years after the Showtime Era and Magic’s retirement.
“Michael Jordan and LaMelo Ball text each other all the time”: Mitch Kupchak
It was Kupchak who helped the Lakers bring their glory days back, in conjunction with the legendary Jerry West. Kupchak was fired by Jim Buss after the death of Dr. Jerry Buss. But he soon found himself working with more basketball royalty in Michael Jordan.
According to Mitch, Jordan is a model owner who lets his coaches coach and his staff sort their work with little intervention. But he’s also actively involved with many members of his young, upcoming team – LaMelo Ball chief among them:
“He was at our game [Saturday] night, but because of the testing requirements, he couldn’t even get down to the locker room and say hello to anybody.”
Mitch Kupchak on working for Michael Jordan: “I mean, I want to please him. I want to get him something he desperately craves. He wants to win and he tried to be patient, but I think he’s a little bit impatient, right? … He wants to win. I can feel it.” https://t.co/8uIGNgdiD7
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 4, 2021
“But they did talk, and I know Michael gives him tips, and I would guess that when we emerge from this COVID world, Michael will spend time with him on the court, but I don’t know that [for sure].”
“Michael lives in Florida; he’s up here quite a bit. He loves to come to practice and watch, he doesn’t interfere with the coaches. He doesn’t know what the coaches are teaching, so he doesn’t want to get on the court and teach something different. But I know he and LaMelo talk and text all the time.”