Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan became the voice of reason for the NBA owners, offering a listening ear to Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook, among others.
August 26th was a notable day in the sports world, as the Milwaukee Bucks decided against playing their postseason game, to voice the need for change in America. This decision was made on the heels of Jacob Blake being unjustifiably shot by police officers in Kenosha, which is the backyard of the Bucks. The Houston Rockets were slated to play in Game 5 of their opening round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it was later announced that their game would also be canceled, along with Thursday’s slate of games.
Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul were spotted having a conversation leading up to the Rockets-Thunder game, which was set to take place prior to the announcement. Westbrook and Paul are both represented under Jordan Brand, which is Michael Jordan’s umbrella of Nike.
According to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, Jordan personally reached out to Westbrook and Paul to speak out about the social issues that have been plaguing America and nearly led to the demise of the NBA’s resumption in the bubble.
Westbrook has remained at the forefront of the racial inequality that’s plagued America, as he joined protesters for a march in Compton, and also is currently vying to help a man who is believed to have been wrongly convicted and facing the death penalty in Oklahoma.
Why Jordan reached out to Rockets’ Westbrook
Jordan was a part of the owners meeting that took place on Thursday, and offered his perspective on how they should be handling the players’ concerns that are being raised. Jordan told his fellow owners, “Right now, listening is better than talking.”
As the sole African-American majority owner and a former superstar who made headlines for his stance on race-related issues during his career, Jordan is the perfect person to be providing advice to both the players and the owners.
Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta shared a similar perspective during an appearance on CNBC, stating that he sides with the players and wants them to have the freedom to voice their concerns.
Tilman Fertitta: “It’s a different generation. If you’re not a flexible person and you don’t see other people’s views, you’re not going to do well in this world today. And so I respect them. I stand by them. They’re my partners.” #Rockets #NBA pic.twitter.com/x3nZ4c4ndt
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) August 27, 2020
There was initial talk that the players wanted to end the season, but the latest update is that the games are likely to resume this weekend. The Rockets will be one of the first teams to play again, because they were set to face off on Wednesday.
The extra time off seemed to benefit the Rockets, as Westbrook was deemed a game-time decision prior to tip-off, so one can only imagine having two extra days will certainly eliminate any skepticism of him being able to play.