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Michael Jordan is still playing a vital role in the NBA

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IN addition to being perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan has become one of the league’s most important voices in collective bargaining agreement negotiations.

As a former player who has moved into an ownership role with the Charlotte Hornets, he has a unique perspective on things that causes everyone else to listen closely anytime he speaks.

The NBA announced that a new labour deal had tentatively been agreed upon earlier this week, and folks on both sides of the bargaining table (via NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner) praised Jordan for the way he was able to help with the process.

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“We each have our own way of communicating in negotiations. But Michael is a little different,” said Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves owner and chairman of the Board of Governors. “He can talk to the players in particular from both sides of an issue. He’ll say, ‘I know as a player I looked at it this way. Now as an owner, I look at it this way. And this is why …’ I think it’s very helpful.

“I see the players — not that they say so much, but I can read their expressions and their faces — do really tune in and listen to him and what he has to say. He also speaks in a manner, not emotional, not loud, but in a very comforting voice that I think comes across as very honest. It’s important that he doesn’t gloat or anything like that. That as an owner you say, ‘This is the type of investment it is and how it would affect your club in the future’.”

Atlanta Hawks wing Kyle Korver, a member of the union’s committee, said of Jordan: “He’s helped create and generate conversations that in previous (negotiations) were really hard to come by. There was, at times, a lot of frustration, a lot of anger, on both sides, and everybody trying to hold onto what is ours.

“One of the reasons why this negotiation has gone so much better is because there has been so much more communication. And to be able to do that you’ve got to have people who know both sides. And Michael’s been really involved, he’s really added to the process.”

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