Except for one lapse in judgement, which turned out to be somewhat costly for him, Michael Jordan has largely been silent during the current NBA labor war, but perhaps MJ needs to step up and help end it, just like he did back in 1998-’99. From Yahoo! Sports: “The awkwardness of Jordan’s position – many of the same star players his ownership peers are negotiating against are part of his Jordan Brand stable – might have contributed to him distancing himself from the talks. But with NBA commissioner David Stern just cancelling the first two weeks of the season and putting the rest of the 2011-12 schedule on notice, the league would benefit from having Jordan’s presence at any future negotiations. Players Association executive director Billy Hunter said he and Stern will meet with a federal mediator next week – a positive step – but if there’s any one person within the league who can coax the two sides closer toward a middle ground, it’s likely Jordan. In simpler terms: The NBA once again needs its greatest player to come through in the clutch. Jordan’s background in the league is as diverse as anyone’s: He’s gone from star player to general manager to owner. He played (and worked) in big markets in Chicago and Washington, and is now trying to make the small-market Bobcats relevant in Charlotte. He entered the league making $630,000 as a rookie and earned as much as $33 million for a single season. He’s the only African-American majority owner in a league predominantly made up of African-Americans. Most of the league’s players still admire or respect Jordan. And even those that don’t trust him as an owner would at least listen to what he has to say. Yes, it’s a reach to think the league and Players Association will simply make peace and ignore the millions of dollars that separate them just because Jordan walks into the room. Yet, the two sides could use a voice of reason to cut through all the rhetoric, a voice to help steer them closer to a compromise, and Jordan’s still carries considerable influence. So far, however, Jordan has largely stayed out of the fray. He attended the owners’ board of governors meeting in Dallas last month, but no players were present. He’s been engaged in some franchise meetings with the Bobcats, but much of his recent time has been spent touring with his Michael Jordan Motorsports group.”
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