Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, was shocked and a bit bewildered to hear LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki suggest on Wednesday that they would like to see the NBA shorten its regular season from 82 games.
"I love both of those guys but as an owner who played the game, I loved playing,'' Jordan said. "If I wasn't playing 82 games, I still would've been playing somewhere else because that's the love for the game I had. As a player, I never thought 82 games was an issue.
"But if that's what they want to do, we as owners and players can evaluate it and talk about it. But we'd make less money as partners. Are they ready to give up money to play fewer games? That's the question because you can't make the same amount of money playing fewer games.''
James and Nowitzki both believed players would benefit from shorter seasons, while Nowitzki suggested a season in the mid-60s.
Jordan also disagreed with the experiment of shortening individual games by four minutes. The NBA presented the 44-minute game to the owners as an idea but not something that the league is seriously considering instituting.
"I would never shorten the game by four minutes,'' said Jordan, "unless guys were having physical issues.
"It's not like football. We don't really have to worry about concussions and some of the physical damage that football players deal with after they retire. I can understand football players wanting to play fewer games from a physical standpoint. But basketball's not the same. I'm not diminishing the fact that we go through a grueling season. But I wouldn't want to shorten the game or play 15-20 fewer games.''