DEAR MICHAEL JORDAN,
I'm sure you're sick of getting "Open Letters to Michael Jordan" from me. But this is the first time I've been able to address you as the owner of an NBA franchise.
Don't worry, this discussion will have a lot more to it than "Why are you still making awful underwear commercials with Charlie Sheen?"
Time was, you were a global icon for basketball excellence. Heck, they even let you star in a movie opposite Bugs Bunny. Nowadays, LeBron James is lucky if Porky Pig returns his text messages.
Never miss a local story.
But now you're the owner in Charlotte. Unfortunately, among basketball fans in Columbia, the Bobcats are not as popular as a basketball squad that can beat the No. 1 team in the nation - yet not qualify for the NIT.
In Looney Tunes terms, I'm pegging you as in the exact same spot as Wile E. Coyote right after he runs off a cliff - yet before he realizes he's no longer on the cliff and about to succumb to that ever-annoying law of gravity all the way to the bottom of the chasm. Poof!
I'm sure there are people out there who are saying, "Never bet against Michael Jordan." That might be true at the casinos and the Hilton Head golf courses. And maybe 10 years from now, downtown Charlotte will have a shelf full of Larry O'Brien trophies.
But right now ... hmm, how do I put this delicately ... can you do something to show us that you CARE that you own the Charlotte Bobcats?
I'm not saying you have to change the name of the team to the Charlotte Air. But the headline from Friday's USA Today was "MJ vows to be involved."
Really? That's what passes as newsworthy? That you held a news conference to go on record that you've acknowledged the existence of your place of business?
We're not even talking about making an impact on the national level. In these here parts, you're competing for our entertainment dollar against the Carolina Panthers, NASCAR, college basketball, college football and college baseball. You're competing for our attention span against Netflix, Nintendo Wii and the cat on YouTube who fell off a five-story building through a basketball hoop and walked away.
In the short term, if everything goes right, the Bobcats might capture Columbia's attention by beating the Atlanta Hawks in a first-round playoff series.
In the medium term, please play an exhibition game this fall at Colonial Life Arena against the Gamecocks or New Jersey Nets (we'll let you decide which would be harder to beat).
In the long term, just show us you believe the Carolinas are pro basketball territory.
You can start by agreeing to produce and star in a spec script for "Space Jam 2" that my evil twin brother Orville and I have wrote.
Not to give away the ending, but you team with Daffy Duck to save Augusta National from Charles Barkley and Yosemite Sam, who want to pave Amen Corner and turn it into the world's largest Taco Bell.
Actually, we wrote this script for Tiger Woods first, but he's not returning our text messages.
Worst case scenario No. 1: Ten years from now, a question on sports bar trivia night asks: "Which was the first of these two Charlotte NBA franchises to no longer exist: Hornets or Bobcats?"
Worst case scenario No. 2: No one knows the answer, and no one cares.
ORVILLE'S LAST WORD
"I wonder if Vegas will let me bet that Jake Delhomme will buy the Carolina Panthers before Michael Jordan's Bobcats win an NBA title."