Larry Bird didn’t like when Lance Stephenson blew in LeBron James’ ear during last year’s playoffs. Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan may not care. Jordan signed Stephenson away from Bird’s team for a lot of money (3 years, $27 million) this summer–and though Stephenson can score, the lion’s share of that loot is paid for some serious LeBron-stopping. Not many players can do it. Stephenson is one of the few who bother King James on the court.
That night Stephenson blew in LeBron’s ear should be remembered for another unusual event. LeBron James scored just 7 points in that playoff game. Jordan’s competitive fire makes it easy for him to look past Stephenson’s antics if the man can help him beat LeBron James. Jordan wants to be as great an executive as he was a player and that means getting past James. “If you want to get out of the East…you’ve got to beat LeBron,” Jordan told ESPN.