Do not talk trash to Michael Jordan. Try it, and he will drag you to the curb with the day’s garbage. There are numerous stories of basketball players learning that the hard way over the years. However, the rule also extends to athletes in other sports, a lesson that 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley learned shortly after the Charlotte Hornets returned to the NBA.
Michael Jordan took charge on and off the court
Michael Jordan’s credentials on the basketball court are as stellar as it gets: Six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, 10 NBA scoring titles, a pair of gold medals in the Olympics, and near-consensus that he is in the conversation for the title of greatest player ever.
Off the court, Jordan became one of the most bankable endorsers in the entertainment industry. His connection with Nike alone is the sort of success story (for both parties) that should be a mandatory case study in MBA programs.
Jordan retired twice during his playing days and then exited the court for good in 2003. Three years later, he bought a minority stake in the Charlotte Bobcats and took over the team’s basketball operations. Jordan upped the stakes in March 2010 by purchasing majority control of the franchise.
Michael Jordan brought the Hornets name back to Charlotte
The original Hornets franchise in Charlotte, owned by businessman George Shinn, joined the NBA in 1988 as part of a league growth plan that also brought teams to Miami, Orlando, and Minnesota.
The Hornets posted their first winning record in their fifth season and reached the playoffs. Six of the next nine seasons also ended with trips to the postseason. However, the 2001-02 season was the end of the run in Charlotte because of dwindling attendance. At the end of the year, the Hornets moved to New Orleans, where they would be renamed as the Pelicans a decade later.
With the New Orleans team having changed its branding, the door was open for the Charlotte Bobcats to take back the Hornets name, a move that gained NBA approval for the 2014-15 season.
That was the background to an awesome exchange of messages on social media during which Michael Jordan swatted down some trash talk from a champion golfer.
‘MJ’ schools PGA champion Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship in a playoff over Jason Dufner, has long had a connection with Michael Jordan thanks to Nike. Bradley was one of the first PGA Tour players to wear Jordan Brand basketball shoes that had been converted to golf shoes and sold for $200 or more per pair.
On the night that the newly renamed Charlotte Hornets played their home opener, Jordan took over their Twitter account. He tweeted a photo of the commemorative ticket and shirt that were distributed. Jordan called them the “special perks of being owner.”
Bradley, very active on social media, saw the tweet and teased his buddy.
“MJ how does it feel to get beat by me everyday at bears club?!” he wrote.
That was a big mistake. One could almost sense that His Airness was waiting to drop some epic trash talk on his friend.
“Last time I looked, you were wearing MY shoes. You don’t see me wearing Air Keegans,” Jordan responded.
Boom. There was nothing left for Bradley to do at that point but negotiate a surrender.
“Hahaha,” Bradley responded. “Damn. Game over.”