Monday, December 26th, 2011 at 9:45 am  |  11 responses

Meet Michael Jordan’s Right-Hand Man: Curtis Polk

The Charlotte Observer pulls the curtain back a bit on the inner workings of the Bobcats, by profiling Curtis Polk, one of the few people on planet Earth who can get away with telling Michael Jordan “No”. Be sure to read the whole thing, as it is fascinating: “Only Michael Jordan, the team owner and arguably the best basketball player ever, outranks Polk in authority. Though Polk works directly for Jordan, rather than the Bobcats, his power within the organization is clear. Here’s how a team executive, who asked to remain anonymous, described Polk’s monthly visits to Charlotte: ‘Everyone is answerable to Curtis.’ Polk has advised Jordan on all things financial for over 20 years. He counts among his greatest accomplishments reworking Jordan’s relationship with Nike after Jordan retired from playing. Polk convinced Nike that Jordan’s value as an endorser would still thrive after he stopped playing. Jordan Brand has nearly tripled in value since Jordan first retired, continuing as a leader in basketball-shoe sales and jumping into baseball, football and other sports. Polk, 52, holds the title of vice chairman of the Bobcats, who open their lockout-delayed season Monday at Time Warner Cable Arena versus the Milwaukee Bucks. He’s also the franchise’s ‘alternate governor’ – NBA jargon for the official with the power to speak and vote for the Bobcats at league meetings in Jordan’s absence. Polk also is the person charged with telling Jordan no. An impatient, hyper-competitive personality, Jordan knows he needs a balance to his sometimes-impulsive style, as the team builds toward what would be the first sustainable success in the franchise’s seven NBA seasons. When Jordan faces a major decision, and Polk says, ‘Don’t!’ Jordan will listen, think long and hard, and usually agree. But they debate, passionately and profanely, sometimes for hours at a time. ‘We’ll go on and on like that, but we listen to each other,’ Jordan told the Observer. ‘He’s ideal, because I’m definitely the guy who believes the glass is half-full and he’s the glass-half-empty guy.’ That’s why Jordan needs Polk, why he has instilled him with so much quiet power to scrutinize: Over time he’s come to emphatically trust Polk’s intellect and conviction. Player-agent David Falk, who brought these two together, says the beauty is Polk has both the confidence to tell Jordan when he’s about to make a mistake and the security not to be bruised if Jordan disregards Polk’s counsel. Polk’s role is to use his financial background to analyze Jordan’s next moves. He’s the pessimist searching for the downside to Jordan’s optimism. ‘(Michael) always thinks he can conquer anything,’ Polk told the Observer last spring.”

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  • Jer Dawg

    His right hand man should tell him to use his juice to produce some more Concords for more people. End this stupid people getting into fights and acting ignorant.

  • Jesse Dunns Ghost

    Seems like people in charlotte want the Hornets back, and dont want the Bobcats…

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    So that’s who’s responsible for all the dumb*ss decisions Jordan has made over the years…

  • Zabbah

    I wasn’t aware Jordan made dumb business decisions over the years. I guess owning a large majority of the sneaker market is a dumb decision in your book, Enigmatic.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ^ Who said anything about business? We’re talking about basketball management.

  • dahon

    it should have been scottie pippen…

  • hushabomb

    That means that Polk needs to help make sound business decisions in order to make the Bobcats a better team.

    Start by 1) drafting Barnes next year, 2) trusting GM Cho with his business moves and 3) investing in a great medical team.

  • Chukaz

    How come he didn’t tell Jordan “No” when Jordan wanted to draft Kwame? How bout Morrison? JD Agustin over Brook Lopez?

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    You weren’t aware Jordan made dumb decisions over the years?
    Where the hell have you been??

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    And yes, like Teddy said I’m talking about basketball decisions

  • DS44

    He needs to tell Money to stop with these hi @$$ prices for fugly shoes!