Basketball

Sorensen: Q and no A with Bob Johnson

Since the Charlotte Bobcats open the season in four days, this seemed like a good time to talk to the team's owner, Bob Johnson.

But after requesting an interview Thursday of last week and Monday through Friday of this week, Johnson said through a team spokesman that he did not want to talk to me (which is absolutely his prerogative).

So instead of a Q & A with Johnson, I'll do a Q.

Q: Several sources around the NBA tell me that you're interested in selling the Bobcats. But not one of them has heard you say it. Are you selling?

A:

Q: If you're not selling now, will you sell, or at least consider selling, when the economy becomes more favorable?

A:

Q: What do you get out of owning the Bobcats? You paid $300 million, which I suspect is more than you anticipated. You've certainly lost more money than you anticipated. And the boost some owners receive, the fans rushing to courtside to thank them for the excitement the team brings to their lives, works only if the owner attends home games. So where's the joy?

A:

Q: You recently laid off almost 40 employees. (In the interest of full disclosure, many businesses, including the one for which I work, also have significantly reduced their staffs.) A source tells me that an NBA representative, perhaps commissioner David Stern, called to question the cuts. True?

A:

Q: You said you reduced your staff at the behest of a consultant. But a consultant is nothing more than an advisor. You make the call. Did you eliminate the employees to save money, to enhance the team's appeal to a potential buyer, or both?

A:

Q: By gutting the marketing and business departments you're gambling that the team will win because many of those employees were responsible for the niceties that contribute to the game experience. How do you define winning? Is it making the playoffs? Do you anticipate making the playoffs this season?

A:

Q: The Bobcats look more like a team now than they have at any time in the previous four seasons. I love the work your new coach, Larry Brown, did at training camp, and saw signs of hope at the two home exhibitions you played. I didn't see you in Wilmington at training camp or at Time Warner Cable Arena for the exhibitions. Have you seen your team play?

A:

Q: I've never owned anything more elaborate than a house. But if I owned a struggling business, I would want to fix it, even if that meant doing nothing more than being there. You live 400 miles away. How many games do you attend a season and how many games does managing partner Michael Jordan attend?

A:

Q: Michael could be the team's face. Instead he's the silhouette. Fans are more likely to see Sean May on the court than Michael off it. Should fans care whether the organization's top two employees attend home games? Should the organization's top two employees care whether fans do?

A:

Q: Bob, I appreciate your time and your candor. I know that your fans also do.

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