Michael Jordan's Desultory Pretend-Comeback Is the Most Exciting Moment in Charlotte Bobcats History

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
Feb. 10 2011 8:50 PM

Michael Jordan's Desultory Pretend-Comeback Is the Most Exciting Moment in Charlotte Bobcats History

Retired NBA star Michael Jordan put on a basketball uniform and


this afternoon with the Charlotte Bobcats, the team he

. The Charlotte Bobcats are an NBA team, of sorts; they are an expansion replacement for an expansion team that left

, because people in North Carolina prefer watching basketball when

are playing it.

No one is interested in anything the the Charlotte Bobcats do at all. The most famous and accomplished player in Charlotte Bobcats history is

, who one year averaged almost 20 points per game. The second most famous Bobcats player was probably

, who was only famous because he had been a very good player in college.

Michael Jordan's ownership of the team was conceived in part as a way of connecting North Carolina's stillborn professional basketball tradition to its flourishing college basketball tradition, because a very long time ago, Jordan was a star player for the University of North Carolina. That didn't really work. Now Jordan is shortening the string of associations by going ahead and participating in basketball practice:

"He's Mike. He's been kicking our [butts]. He still has it," forward Gerald Wallace said. "He doesn't have this quickness, but he can score, he's a shooter. The last thing to ever go is your jump shot and he has that."

The last time Jordan moved from an NBA front office to the basketball court was in 2001, when after three years of retirement, he suited up for the Washington Wizards. His

was marked by

, bitterness, injury, and

, and ended with him being fired by the team's owner.

Scrimmaging with the Bobcats' third team reportedly left the soon-to-be-48-year-old Jordan with "ice bags strapped to both knees." In the ongoing awkwardness of his retirement, Jordan may yet transform himself (voluntarily or not) from a domineering basketball player-corporation into something more lovable, or sympathetic, or pathetic.

But the chances of his making a competitive comeback—even a stunt one, as a basketball


—seem low. Jordan escaped Washington less than six hundredths of a point

as the NBA's all-time per-game scoring leader. Three more bad games, and he'd slide into second place.

Still, the idea of Jordan touching the basketball, even as an erastz Bobcat, is the most interesting thing that has ever happened to the Charlotte Bobcats, and is possibly the most interesting thing that ever will happen to them.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
Sept. 18 2014 3:24 PM Symantec Removes Its “Sexual Orientation” Filter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 3:04 PM Pogo Returns With Another Utterly Catchy Disney Remix
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.