MEDIA - Media Watch - Mr. Jordan is set to work magic on Wizards and DC

Seldom does a woeful sporting franchise take the media spotlight away from the politicians and the ongoing campaign trail. However, that is exactly what the NBA’s Washington Wizards did when it appointed Michael Jordan as its new director of basketball operations.

Seldom does a woeful sporting franchise take the media spotlight away from the politicians and the ongoing campaign trail. However, that is exactly what the NBA’s Washington Wizards did when it appointed Michael Jordan as its new director of basketball operations.

Seldom does a woeful sporting franchise take the media spotlight

away from the politicians and the ongoing campaign trail. However, that

is exactly what the NBA’s Washington Wizards did when it appointed

Michael Jordan as its new director of basketball operations.



Air Jordan’s return was welcomed by a sport that has not learned how to

live without him. Both the media and local basketball fans struggled to

grasp the magnitude of his appointment to a team that is booed at home

and whose image has been so bad that it tried changing its name to

improve its image. CARMA’s analysis of the media coverage following the

announcement found that not only is the team’s record likely to benefit,

but that pro sports is also likely to be a major winner.



As much of the media coverage acknowledged, Jordan’s renowned commitment

to winning will be put to the test as he attempts to revive arguably the

most overpaid and underachieving team in the NBA. Recognizing the

challenge ahead, Jordan explained, ’It’s my job to try to make sure they

put out the effort on the basketball court. I’m going to try to have my

imprints and footprints all over this organization. My energy now is

here and I’m going to try to do the best I can in Washington’



(Chicago Tribune, January 20).



The media coverage following the news reveals that, aside from the

benefits to the team, the city of Washington will benefit greatly from

the arrival of his Airness. As a local fan explained, ’Sports always

seems to unite this city and its people of all colors and backgrounds’

(New York Times, January 20). Downtown landowner Douglas Jemal added

that the ’combination of hi-tech money and Jordan’s celebrity and

respect from schoolyards to boardrooms will focus attention on the

redevelopment of downtown Washington in a way that developers and

politicians have not been able to’



(Washington Post, January 20).



One could argue that the hi-tech community has usurped the politicians

as the town’s most admired denizens. Bob Johnson, chairman of Black

Entertainment Television, pointed out that once the hi-tech leaders have

made their personal wealth, priorities change: ’The next big thing is

not to earn more money, but to find what’s exciting to do - and that’s

buying teams, being part of the power structure. You’re going to see

these guys look to the city as the place to open interesting hotels,

exciting restaurants - the fun stuff you do once you make your money’

(Washington Post, January 20).



The league too will benefit from numerous promotional and merchandising

initiatives surrounding Jordan’s return. Sports marketer David Bonham

argued that Jordan alone can stabilize the league. ’The top four major

sports leagues today have an increasingly difficult issue to deal with -

(athletes) strangling coaches, shooting girlfriends and wives, dealing

drugs ... these issues threaten the foundation of professional sports in

this country. Somebody like Michael Jordan can assist in that because he

is a model to emulate’



(Washington Post, January 20).



Ultimately, his success will be measured by the team’s results, but it

is within the nation’s capital where his impact may mean the most.





Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Media Watch can be found

at www.carma.com



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