Rough Landing for Air Jordan

Rough Landing for Air Jordan

On this day in Charlotte, two buskers stand on a moonlit sidewalk. Dressed in overcoats, one croons into the night, beckoning passersby to venture closer and drop a quarter in a fedora while the other waits for the opportune moment to bow forward with an outstretched hand. “May I paint your portrait, sir?” These men are not artists—they are midnight entertainers working Charlotte’s downtown streets for money and just so happen to be working on Jordan’s doorstep.

They’ve seen him on these streets before, wandering around like some average Joe. Each time they spot him they are wowed. “That’s Michael Jordan,” they say to themselves. “The greatest basketball player of all time.” It’s only when he’s out of sight that they think of him less for what he was and more for what he has become: the most inept NBA owner in history, steward of the 2011–12 Charlotte Bobcats, the team with the .106 winning percentage, the lowest ever. It’s hard to reconcile the contradiction.

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