Turn the Charlotte Bobcats into the Chicago Jumpmen

Bill Simmons noted this idea on an article for Grantland, and quite honestly, it's completely brilliant. Jerry Reinsdorf has to be blocking this move with all his might.

From Bill Simmons via Grantland:

The Charlotte Bobcats never should have happened. You know how I know this? Because Michael Jordan spent about 20 bucks in actual cash to buy them two years ago, that's how. If the Bobcats break their stadium lease and move somewhere else, they'd have to pay the city of Charlotte $150 million. So it would make no sense to move them, unless … you know … Jordan moves them to Chicago (where he still lives), plays in the United Center (where he has a giant statue), ropes Oprah into being a minority owner, then quickly becomes a well-run version of the Clippers to the Bulls' version of the Lakers.20 Not only would they cover the $150 million pretty quickly, but that would give the league six teams in the three biggest TV markets. And that's a bad thing … why?21

The Bobcats aren't that good, don't have a bright future, and may not be run well, but if you let them play in the United Center, and they could sell out the stadium every night right now charging what the Bobcats do (1/3rd as much as the Bulls).

Through Michael Jordan in the crowd, and it's on like Donkey Kong. He's Chicago's greatest athlete, and let's face it, there are a huge percentage of casual Bulls fans more loyal to Jordan than to the Bulls.

Jerry Reinsdorf's influence and Derrick Rose's badassedness are the only two things that would stop this from being a slam dunk. However, the league might rule against Jerry because the move makes so much sense, and Derrick Rose's career won't last forever.

Now imagine renaming the team to the Jumpmen, getting a massive Nike endorsement and using Jordan's logo as the team logo. I can't imagine how much Nike would pay for that to go down if the idea passed through league offices which would be dicey.

However, that's kind of a sidebar.

Jordan would sell in Chicago. If they ever landed a franchise star, the Bobcats would rake in unbelievable profits in Chicago, because ultimately, while we probably wouldn't switch from the Sox to Cubs (or vice versa), many would consider switching from the Bulls to Jordan's team, because Jordan's the reason so many fans love the Bulls anyway.

It wouldn't feel like a betrayal to root for Jordan. It'd feel completely natural.

The NBA needs to make this happen. I would love for this to happen. Of course, the Bulls should be cringing about this happening.


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  • I think it would be nice since it makes sense. I feel this could be a move that alot of small NBA market teams do. Do the same with the Bucks, Wolves, Wizards, Kings and Hornets and it would pay off.

    In terms of who to root for, I will still be a bulls fan but to have another pro sprots team in town is hard to turn away. Especially with them having Kemba Walker now. He is easy to root for. I went to a big east school though.

  • Yes, the NBA could rule against Reinsdorf to allow a second NBA team in the Chicago area. But the NBA has no say over the United Center. The United Center is privately owned by Reinsdorf and Wirtz, correct? So why would Reinsdorf allow a competing NBA team to play in his stadium and undercut Bulls ticket prices?

    It seems logical Reinsdorf would refuse and I don’t see how the NBA or the city of Chicago could force the United Center to lease to the Bobcats/Jumpmen or any other NBA team looking to relocate to a big market. Any second NBA team would likely be forced to play at Allstate Arena in Rosemont or some other less appealing arena.

    In contrast, the Staples Center in Los Angeles is independently owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group who has no ownership stake in either the Lakers or Clippers. So the Lakers or Clippers have no say in who Anshutz leases to. That’s a completely different situation.

    Knowing Reinsdorf, he would want a large ownership interest in the second team to agree to lease his United Center – and even then I’m not sure he would agree. And would the NBA allow an owner to be involved in two teams? It seems a conflict of interest. I doubt a second NBA team ever plays in the UC.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I agree the UC might be off limits.

    However, what if the Chicago Jumpman play in the all-state arena? They don't have as many luxury box suites, but it's still near NBA ready relative to most other stadiums, and they can draw 8-10k per game for Arena football, so I'd think an actual NBA team could still sell out there.

    It probably wouldn't be the same lock on profits without considerable renovation done or even a complete rebuild, but I'd bet they could find a way to make it work.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Also worth noting that a lease deal for another team to use the UC would make the UC in use every night of the year basically in the winter.

    Reinsdorf/Wirtz would bank an absolute assload of cash leasing it out to a third team. If the team was moved to Chicago anyway and they simply had to choose whether or not to take the money and lease the stadium or not, then they might choose to take the money.

  • CBA as Creative Writing
    It seems this summer lockout of the CBA is allowing creative writing to flourish in the NBA.
    I enjoyed the Chicago Jumpmen article.
    If we wish to continue the fantasy further, someone could theorize the potential cost of the Chicago Jumpmen at the U.C. and its impact on the Chicago Bulls franchise.

  • I have always argued that Chicago is a big enough market to support a second NFL team, and would root for both if we had them.

    I imagine that the economics for the NBA would be similar, but I just can't see the league even considering it, as well as Reinsdorf agreeing to let it happen.

  • Jumpmen? Chicago Space Jams! ;)

    As for JR, I don't get why he'd be against this. The fact he owns the stadium makes it in his favour, he surely stands to make more from selling out the stadium another 41 times a year than he'll lose in merchandise.

  • One thing everyone is forgetting: MJ is a terrible owner!! He has yet to get anything right, and the recent drafting of the big man from the Congo (Diop will end up with far better NBA numbers than Biyombo) just proofs it further, along with jettisoning his two top players (Gerald Wallace and now Stephen Jackson) for trash and salary cap relief (which he'll use to get more overhyped players).

    And two more words: Adam Morrison!!!

    As much as Chicago loves MJ, it's because he was the ultimate winner. But that changed when he became an owner, and not everyone is going to go to watch a mediocre NBA team full of overpaid hacks unless MJ reverses the clock and gets back on the court.

    No, I'll stay with my Bulls. D Rose, Thibs, Taj, Deng, Noah, Asik, Brewer, Butler ... one player away from potential NBA champs.

  • I think Reinsdorf would allow this more readily than sharing his profits to subsidize the Bucks and Pacers. In fact, if he got a favorable deal, I bet he would welcome a third team to the UC.

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    This is the most pathetic idea. This idea would help destroy one city while helping another who already has how many professional teams? I hope this is just a fantasy for you. The thought on this idea would be that MJs name would draw in the crowds. Well, that is exactly what Charlotte was thinking. How did that turn out. I do have to say that attendance is much better in Charlotte than outsiders perceive.

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