Charlotte Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford needs all the help he can get right about now. It just so happens he's getting a little extra from the greatest basketball player of all time, according to The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell.
Bonnell explains that Bobcats owner Michael Jordan regularly texts advice to Clifford. Clifford reportedly takes it in stride, saying before Game 2, "He’ll text me sometimes just with things that he sees. He knows our team. I appreciate how he treats me – he gives me suggestions, but he always says, 'You’re the coach; do what you think.'"
Some coaches might be flustered by the backseat driving, but MJ has always been one heck of a driver. It sounds as though he has a special rapport with Clifford, allowing him to supply input without coming across as overbearing or meddlesome.
By all accounts, Jordan isn't looking to get in the way. He told Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling he approved of the job Clifford was doing back February, even before the Bobcats had secured a playoff spot:
I’ve been impressed with several aspects of his coaching. First of all, Steve has come in and quickly established an identity and a style of play for our team—hard-working, defensive-minded, playing inside-out basketball. I’ve been very impressed with his ability to communicate. He understands the NBA player. When you are around him, you immediately can tell that he has learned from some of the best and has been in the NBA for a long time. Steve lets each player know what he expects and what they need to do to help us win.
Perhaps the big takeaway from all this is that we live in a new era of professional communications. Visits to Clifford's office might send the wrong message, but the occasional text message ranks as a far less formal and invasive measure. After all, we're talking about an owner with an extremely high basketball IQ—wouldn't it be stranger if he didn't have his say?
Charlotte will look to bounce back from an 0-2 deficit against the Miami Heat in the teams' first-round series. Game 3 is on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
Look for the Bobcats to play with a sense of desperation. They were able to keep Games 1 and 2 close for the most part, but Miami has outlasted them with superior talent and plenty of playoff pedigree. Charlotte will need to do all the little things, outhustling the Heat and playing virtually mistake-free basketball.
Maybe they'll heed some of Jordan's advice in the process. It couldn't hurt.