Reports: Michael Jordan serving key role between team owners and players during protest talks

·2-min read

NBA players have decided to resume playing after walkouts on Wednesday and Thursday in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake. In communication with the league’s ownership, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan has reportedly emerged as a key conduit for a group of players of which he was once a member.

In advance of a franchise owners meeting about player walkouts, Jordan reached out to National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul as well as Russell Westbrook to learn more about what the players hope to achieve and offer assistance, according to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.

Jordan, the NBA’s only Black team owner and chairman of its Labor Relations Committee, reportedly served as “a voice of reason” during the franchise owner meetings, urging the other team owners to allow players to get their voice out before offering their own solutions.

From ESPN:

“Right now, listening is better than talking,” Jordan told the group, according to sources.

That role seemed to extend to a meeting between the franchise owners of the 13 teams remaining in the bubble and a group of players on Thursday. Despite his team’s season being long over, Jordan was a presence on the call and made his voice heard, according to Turner Sports’ Taylor Rooks:

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“I am on this call, not as an owner, not as a former player, but simply as a Black man,” Jordan said, according to Rooks.

This isn’t too surprising to see from Jordan, who has become much more outwardly political in recent years, especially in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. He has backed up his statement blasting “ingrained racism” in the U.S. with a pledge to donate $100 million alongside his Jordan Brand to help the fight against racial inequality.

Michael Jordan sits at a podium.
Michael Jordan is the only person to go from NBA player to majority owner of a team. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

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