By Matt Rochinski
December 11, 2012
Charlotte, NC – Seeing Bobcats Chairman Michael Jordan at Bobcats games or in the practice facility has become status quo around Charlotte. Still, watching him take the court to work with the Cats youngsters or play some one-on-one against Gerald Henderson or rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is always something special.
With the Cats in need of a boost to help put them in the right frame of mind to end an eight-game skid when they take on the Clippers in Wednesday Night Basketball at 7:30 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena®, it was MJ who was in the training room, in the film room and at practice with the Cats working on footwork, jump shots and more.
“I had a chance to talk to him about my game, and obviously he sees a lot more than I see and we see on the floor,” said Bismack Biyombo. “He also knows the game better than we do, so he’s always giving advice. I think it’s very good for us.”
Jordan took Biyombo aside after practice and spent some time working with the 20-year-old big man inside the paint.
“We worked on post moves, the way you have to move on defense, how you can control your teammates and talked a little bit about guarding the guard when I switch on guys,” said Biyombo. “All of the things that I don’t know, he helps me get to know, and I appreciate that.”
But anyone who knows Michael Jordan – heck, anyone who has ever heard of Michael Jordan – knows about the competitive fire that burns in him, and it didn’t take long until he was taking on Kidd-Gilchrist and Henderson one-on-one.
As the lone Bobcat on the squad who has experience taking on MJ one-on-one, Henderson knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Especially after Henderson’s two wins over Jordan in H.O.R.S.E. in Hendo’s rookie year had to be stuck in the back of Jordan’s head.
“He’s the best ever to play and has that competitive nature,” said Henderson. “I think he always feels like he can help you, so it’s good. We played a little one-on-one and did some shooting drills, so that’s always a lot of fun. He wants to win, so it gets competitive.”
So who won today? Was it Jordan? Henderson? Kidd-Gilchrist?
“We went even today,” Henderson smiled. “We did a little one-on-one game and (Michael Kidd-)Gilchrist played him too, but we all went even. He’s still got it. He can still shoot. I don’t know about his defense right now, but he can still score it.”
Biyombo didn’t exactly see things the same way.
“Today I think MJ killed Hendo,” laughed Biyombo. “(Jordan) was saying, ‘Wait until I get in shape, and then we’ll see what’s going to happen.’ He can still play the game. When I see him, I think he can still play the game if he wanted to. He’s still pretty good.”
According to Henderson, Jordan might have picked the right time to challenge the Cats captain. He’s just five games back from a foot injury that cost him 13 games earlier this season and is still working to get back in game shape himself.
“Everything he does is always thought out,” laughed Henderson. “He’s a basketball genius. I don’t know if he wants to see me in a couple months, but we were just having fun… Not only is he your owner, he’s the greatest player of all time and he wants to play you just so he can talk stuff the rest of the year.
“He cares a lot. He’s been around so much this year at every game. It’s an important thing for him. Us as players, we care a lot, but to see somebody from management come down, be around and have a voice is a special thing.”