Be Like Mike?

Do You Want to Be Like Mike?

If anyone has watched professional sports for any length on TV, especially basketball, you are bound to see the Be Like Mike in the Gatorade commercial. It’s an older commercial from a few decades ago but it still appears to have relevance today. The commercial features number 23 of the Chicago Bulls doing remarkable wizardry with the basketball n the old Chicago stadium. The building where Jordan learned and developed what it would take to eventually get to the NBA finals and win 6 championships.

While in the twilight of his career, did MJ wonder what was next with his the next phase of his life? At what point did he give it much thought — did he have a laser-sharp focus on the next stage? With more money than 99% of all professional athletes earn in their career (on and off the court), he certainly didn’t have to worry about his financial situation.

Who would want to Be Like Mike today? Let’s see, rumor has it that Michael is quite serious and impatient on a golf course. So much so that weeks ago, it was reported that number 23 suggested he might want to build his own golf course in Florida because other golfers are too slow and won’t let him play through. Can you imagine being approached by Michael on the golf course and being asked if his group could play through? Wouldn’t it be difficult to say no? Or would you want to impress your buddies by standing up to MJ on the 10th green? Does he have a point here about sometimes slow play or is the issue his competiveness and impatience. Would you want to Be Like Mike on the golf course?

Anyway, being a front office executive (after retiring from basketball) is not like being a player or coach. It doesn’t always tap into one’s competitive juices. Michael quickly realized he had a lot less control on the success of the franchise. Perhaps this was a painful lesson to learn. Did he fail as a front office executive? Or was he given enough time? If indeed he failed, it doesn’t appear it’s tarnished his image. He has the means to try on the owner hat for awhile. For those who think his image is tarnished, incremental success as an owner would wipe away any tarnish whatsoever. Would you give that a shot? If you can’t make it as an executive, you just buy a team and give that a go. Be Like Mike as an team executive? 

Michael has been the owner of the Charlotte Hornets since 2010. Since he became a majority owner, the Charlotte Bobcats are on their 4th coach. I believe it’s too early to tell how successful his franchise will be. Frankly, like many other professional sports, there’s a certain amount of luck involved. Luck that your players stay healthy. Luck that you find the right coach. Luck that the system the coach runs will enable the players to run such a system. Luck that if you don’t do well, you’ll get a chance at a promising star from college. Would you like to Be Like Mike and have all the stress and complexities of owning your own NBA franchise?

His kids are grown and some are in college so they’re less dependent in their lives. Soon, they will start families of their own. This might provide occasional amusement to Michael. To bring more stability into his personal life, he got married last year to Yvette Jordan and shortly thereafter, brought twins into the family. Time for Michael to start over? If he’s happy, why not start a family? With additional hired support, can he have his cake and eat it too? Would you like to Be Like Mike at age 52, starting a new family?

He has just a few friends although I’ve read that he’s not too close to many of his teammates and competitors he faced during his playing years. With wads of money to throw around, Michael would never be short of golf or gambling buddies. Of course, the guy with cash is king and calls the shots. Would that get old, having wads of money to get the kind of fun or action you’re looking for? Maybe sooner or much later. It’s quite impossible to know exactly. To have so much cash and not worry about losing some which enables  he and his entourage to have a good time. Can you imagine what this may feel to Be Like Mike while hanging out for a few select friends?

So who wants to Be Like Mike? Well, I do. I know he doesn’t have many friends, but again, those can be bought and he knows why many of those close to him professionally treat him like the king. Those close to him may be yes men around, but I want to give this a try. Not playing basketball, I want to Be Like Mike on the golf course and continue to call the shots. I want to apply my competitive nature I had on the court to running the Bobcats. To try and be the best owner in the NBA, if not all of sports. I’m going to help scout players to see which ones may fit into our system. I want to help out where I can and continue to try to channel my competitive juices into the organization in the attempt of bringing an NBA championship to Charlotte. With a new family, perhaps Michael felt he didn’t spend as much time with his kids who are now grown. Will he evolve and improve as a dad? So who wants to Be Like Mike and give that family thing another go too?

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.