Jordan steps on practice floor with Bobcats in effort to teach
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan was back on the court Tuesday, swishing jump shots and talking tough.
No, he's not making another comeback.
In an effort to get more involved with his slumping team, the Charlotte Bobcats' part-owner jumped into a drill during the team's practice. He then gave tips to some young players and showed he still has that famous shooting touch.
"This was more or less for the morale of the players," Jordan said. "The last couple of days it has been all about trying to get them to focus on the little things and to play as a team."
The workout came a day after Jordan sat in on team meetings and film sessions as the Bobcats try to end a stretch of 10 losses in 12 games under first-year coach Sam Vincent.
"I also told them yesterday that on this team we have no All-Stars -- none," Jordan said. "That means everybody has to rely upon each other to be successful. Until we develop an All-Star that can take over a game, I think it's very important for them to understand that they have to play as a unit. I think that's the message that a lot of the guys got."
It was a rare on-court appearance for the 44-year-old Jordan, who bought into the Bobcats in June 2006 and was given the final say on the team's basketball decisions.
Jordan has been rarely seen in public since. He's granted few interviews and when he attends home games, he sits in a suite above the court. He has instructed arena staff not to show him on the video board.
But Jordan chatted with reporters Tuesday after working out with the team, which has struggled after a 6-4 start. He said building a 13-point, third-quarter lead last Friday against Orlando before losing showed him the Bobcats aren't far from being a winning team.
"I thought the game against Orlando, they could have stepped out and made a name for themselves," Jordan said. "They did, but so quickly they reverted back to old habits in the second half. That proves to me that they have it. You just have to somehow get it out of them, so they focus on all 15 guys, as opposed to one guy here or one guy there being the focus. I think the last couple of days we had great conversations."
Jordan, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, is still trying to translate that success to the front office. He was fired as president of the Washington Wizards in 2003 in a stint interrupted by Jordan's second comeback as a player.
Jordan has gotten Bobcats owner Bob Johnson to spend money in his new role. Jordan was behind a draft-night deal that brought in Jason Richardson from Golden State. Last week, the Bobcats traded Primoz Brezec and Walter Herrmann to Detroit for center Nazr Mohammed.
But the added payroll hasn't led to more wins. Jordan stressed he believes the key will be point guard Raymond Felton getting the ball inside more and avoiding critical errors.
"By now we should start to see more consistency in his play," Jordan said. "Less turnovers, more leadership so that you don't have periods where you come down and lose the ball with no shot on three straight plays. On that fourth play you have to focus."
Jordan echoed many of the complaints Vincent has had about his team.
"Sam is totally saying the same thing," Jordan said. "But coming from me it resonates a little more and a little bit fast."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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