Sportress of Blogitude

Michael Jordan using ‘The Last Dance’ to push Hornets players

The Charlotte Hornets will not be one of the 22 teams that will descend on Orlando’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex when the NBA’s return-to-play plan is put in action in July.

That doesn’t mean Hornets leadership, headed by owner Michael Jordan, are calling it quits on an otherwise lost season for a team that was 23-42 when play was halted in March.

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that Jordan hosted a Zoom call for Hornets players upon the conclusion of “The Last Dance,” the 10-part docuseries that chronicled his iconic career and final season with the Chicago Bulls that became a runaway ratings hit for ESPN.

Jordan’s competitive fire, not to mention the negative consequences of his teammates were subjected to because of that intensity, was one of the most compelling aspects of the series.

While Jordan’s occasional mistreatment of teammates wasn’t the most admirable quality of the NBA legend’s personality, the Hornets owner nevertheless highlighted on the Zoom meeting how players need to be more demanding of their teammates if they want to take the next step.

“How you have to be comfortable calling your teammates out,” Hornets guard Devonte Graham recalled of Jordan’s message. “That’s going to make you guys even better. You’ll bond better. Your team is stronger.

“There is more of a respect level, instead of not saying anything and letting guys mess up over and over and over again and you’re losing and losing.”

It should not be discounted that Jordan had the right to lead in such a manner given his generational greatness and how his unparalleled talent afforded him the right to call out teammates in such an aggressive manner. With that in mind, Jordan presumably understands that players on the Hornets roster need to hold themselves accountable first before criticizing their teammates.

In other words, Jordan’s message was presumably more about relaying a lead-by-example philosophy than mimicking his often-acerbic leadership style. That is, the behavior exhibited by Jordan during his career and its impact on his teammates as chronicled in “The Last Dance” has to be earned, it’s not a right.