Michael Jordan has changed the game of basketball through his play, but he could have also changed it with his ownership decisions.
As you all know, Jordan currently owns the Charlotte Hornets and his time as an owner hasn’t been nearly as great as his time as a player with the Chicago Bulls.
Winning six NBA titles and utterly dominating the 1990s with his play, Jordan built himself up to be the consensus greatest player in NBA history. However, his Hornets haven’t seen the same dominance as some bad mistakes with regards to personnel decisions and draft picks have had them near the bottom of the Eastern Conference mostly.
One of those decisions was passing on Giannis Antetokounmpo in the 2013 NBA draft. Well, 14 other teams also passed on him, so he shouldn’t take as much flak for this decision, but there exists an alternate world where Jordan could have messed this pick up with the Bucks too.
CRAZY to pay Gordon Hayward 30 million a year for the next four years.
Michael Jordan. The GOAT as a player, but man is he bad as an owner.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 21, 2020
Michael Jordan May Have Cost Giannis Antetokounmpo And The Milwaukee Bucks A Championship If He Was Their Owner
Jordan became the owner of the Charlotte Hornets in 2006 when he acquired a majority stake in the franchise. Part of the deal also included Jordan gaining control of basketball operations.
That wasn’t the first time Jordan had attempted to buy the team, however. Back in 1989, the Bobcats were in a bit of turmoil as owner George Shinn was faced with several business problems, and then NBA commissioner David Stern was pleading for him to give up the role.
Jordan was ready with an offer that would have gave him 49% of the team, but things wouldn’t work in his favor as Shinn refused to give up his position.
However, Jordan could have also been the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks if things swung a different direction. He had an opportunity to buy the team in 2003, but that chance fell through, for better or for worse.
Owner Herb Kohl put the Milwaukee Bucks up for sale in 2003, and there were several offers floating around, including one from MJ. The deal was all set to go ahead as the two sides had an agreement which even included Jordan controlling the draft room until the deal became official.
However, just like with Shinn, Jordan would miss out once more as Kohl reverted on his original stance and held on to the team until 2014 when he sold it to Wes Edens and Marc Lasry.
Had Jordan become the owner and head of basketball operations of the Bucks, there’s a real chance that he could have passed on Giannis Antetokounmpo in that 2013 draft. Jordan’s drafting skills haven’t been the best, outside of Kemba Walker and perhaps LaMelo Ball now, as in that year’s draft he picked Cody Zeller fourth overall.
It’s an interesting ‘what-if’ scenario to think about as if the Bucks at 15 hadn’t picked Giannis, then that means some team after them definitely would have. Who are those teams?
The Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, and Cleveland Cavaliers held the next few picks. Can you imagine how Giannis could have changed the path of any of those teams? Does LeBron leave Cleveland again if the Cavs have the ‘Greek Freak’ to pair beside him? There are a lot of hypotheticals to go around including the fact that the Bucks may never have won the NBA title if they didn’t have Giannis.
The Bucks also traded Brandon Jennings for Khris Middleton who emerged as a key contributor and the perfect second star for Giannis’ title run. Would MJ have pulled off that deal again costing the Bucks the title even if he did draft Giannis? We’ll never know.