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MJ's November Mailbag

MJ's December Mailbag

Mailbag #5 - 11/22/10
11/12/10 Mailbag | 11/8/10 Mailbag | 11/4/10 Mailbag | 11/1/10 Mailbag

Through four mailbags we've had a lot of good questions, suggestions and comments. There are a few topics that come up in every batch of email I get. Steven, Rustam, Jonathan, Kam, Oneka and Rose – please check out previous mailbags to get the answers to your questions. Keep sending me your question or comment here, now on to the new questions for Mailbag #5:

T.J. and Shawn asked where fans can go to get more in-depth, personal, off-court news on our players. You're starting to see a little more of it during games when we show videos of them doing different things off the court. But I think our website, bobcats.com, would be the best place for it. We do some of that now at bobcats.com, but I can see us doing more of it in the future. You can also stay directly in touch with our players through their personal Twitter accounts. We’ve listed their account names at bobcats.com so you can follow them.

Gary wrote in a little frustrated with some recent stories in the local media about our slow start and wondered what we could do about making those stories more positive. We respect the job they have to do, and we help them where we can, but it's a long season and they're going to cover both the highs and the lows. Our job is to stay focused on our goal - returning to the playoffs.

Matt asked about the things we do as an organization to respond to global disasters. I think the NBA does a great job of lining up support from its teams and properties to respond to crises around the world, and they encourage us to find local solutions as well. After the earthquake in Haiti we worked with our friends at NASCAR to raise money for relief efforts during our NASCAR Night game. It's gratifying to be able to help people around the world, but just as important to me is being able to make a difference here in the Carolinas. I'm looking forward to sharing some of the details on our new Cats Care initiative very shortly.

Andrew had a question about getting Nelly involved in our game presentation. It's great to have partners like Nelly because they're passionate about the NBA and making the Bobcats as good as we can be. When he sits courtside he's helping make the experience at our games even better for our fans. People come out to see the stars – both on and off the court – and when he's there, or Denny Hamlin is there or Ric Flair or Freddie Couples or any of the other celebrities that attend our games, that's something that gets people talking about us the next day. And that's what we're trying create – the best sports and entertainment option in the Carolinas.

Finally, Kim had a great question about motivating our players and keeping them focused over the course of a long season. There's no question that the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint, and each night it takes a different motivation or focus to prepare to play. Like I said earlier in this mailbag, we have to be focused on the end goal. This year, that goal is returning to the playoffs, and making some noise while we're there. There are plenty of things that come up during the course of the season that can provide motivation or something to focus on. Sometimes it's a comment in the paper. Sometimes it's a loss to an opponent the last time we played them and we feel like we're better than what we showed that night. But whatever the motivation is, we also have to be focused on playing every single game and not look ahead past a future opponent or linger too long on a game we just played.

Lots of good questions in this group. Please keep your questions and comments coming.

MJ

Mailbag #4 - 11/12/10
11/8/10 Mailbag | 11/4/10 Mailbag | 11/1/10 Mailbag

I have to confess something. This is the fourth edition of MJ's Mailbag and I thought by now you would have run out of questions and comments. Instead, they keep getting better and better. Keep sending me your question or comment here. Let's get to the best of this batch:

Jeffrey, who I met along with his wife and another couple at a local restaurant after a game last week, asked if it's hard for me to watch this team lose all these close games. It's harder than you can imagine. Not simply because we're losing, but because of how close we are to turning these losses into wins. We're literally one play away in a lot of these games. But that also gives me confidence and optimism for the rest of the season. If we keep working hard and playing together, we'll start making those plays that turn a game in our favor.

Mikita from Birmingham said she would be willing to come to even more games if she knew a big name entertainer would be there to sing the anthem or perform at halftime. Our staff has put together a lineup for the season that includes Grammy winners like Anthony Hamilton and high-energy acts like dunkers and BMX bikers. And we're adding more every week. Check out the full schedule of entertainers and giveaways at bobcats.com.

Charles wants to know when we're going to carry a Bobcats jersey with my name and number on it in the new Team Store. One of the cool things you can do here at the arena is to take a blank jersey and put any name and number on it you want. Tell them what you want, they'll press the letters and numbers on the jersey while you watch the game, and then you can pick it up on your way out the door.

Andy had a great question about the tools and techniques we use to teach and reinforce the Win As One philosophy with our players, both on and off the court. On the court our coaching staff constantly talks about playing the right way, about being unselfish, about helping on defense and being willing to sacrifice in order to help the team succeed. Off the court, we make sure our guys understand that they're more than just basketball players – they're members of this community and they have a unique opportunity to make our community better by getting involved. What resonates with our guys is when we can show them examples of players who have had great success on the court and been well respected in the community by following this philosophy. When we can say "so-and-so had a long, successful career by focusing on the team and getting involved in the community," our players start to really understand and embrace what we’re doing here.

Finally, Nick wants to know if we'll have any ticket promotions like we’ve had in the past. We are definitely looking to do more things like that this season. We just had a successful promotion for our Facebook fans with more to come, and later this month you'll start seeing information on the Lady Cats Ticket Deal. Keep checking back in those two places for the latest ticket offers.

Limiting this mailbag to just five questions was a tough assignment. I've got a couple I'm hanging onto for the next mailbag as well. Please keep your questions and comments coming. I love the feedback.

MJ

Mailbag #3 - 11/8/10
11/4/10 Mailbag | 11/1/10 Mailbag

Thanks for checking out mailbag #3. We've made the submission process easy now, so make sure to send me your question or comment here.

One important update to an answer about television coverage in the first edition of the mailbag: SportSouth is now in HD on Time Warner Cable in Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Very happy they found a way to make that happen.

Still getting a lot of questions and comments about specific players, television coverage, and the market study we're conducting about a name change. I'm starting to see what you're passionate about! Georgia, Matt, Dawn, Sterling, Daniel, David, Caleb, John and Tonce all had player personnel or coaching questions. Morton had a question about TV in Sun City. Rejhan, Donald, Will and Jennifer, whose husband has a Bobcats tattoo, all gave their input on our team name and colors. Please check out the first mailbag to see the answers to your questions.

On to the best of the new questions:

Oscar, a Major in the US Army, asked if there are any plans for us to visit Puerto Rico. We actually got a similar question to this at last month's Town Hall meeting. I would love to see us play in overseas preseason games. Over the last decade or so the league has done a great job of expanding our reach in Europe, Asia, South America – all over the world, really – with games, basketball clinics, the internet and television agreements. I hope we can make the Bobcats part of that effort in the future.

Speaking of fans overseas, Rustam from the Ukraine wants to know if I do any coaching with our players now, or take the court with them during practice. Obviously I'm here as a resource for each one of our players. Larry and his staff do the coaching in practice and during games, but I watch what's going on and offer help whenever it's needed. I like talking to our guys and they do come to me a lot for advice on things they can do to improve their game. All of our guys are really coachable, and I'm happy to help.

Anytra is a new Season Ticket Holder who travels a lot and wants to know if Bobcats fans ever get tickets in other cities where the team is playing. I like that idea. Road trips from Charlotte, fan clubs in other cities – I know there are Bobcats fans all over the place because they chat at bobcats.com during our games. Let me talk to some people internally and figure out a way to organize our fans around road games. In the meantime, you can always contact your personal account manager for help in getting tickets to games in other arenas.

John had a good question about dynamic pricing for single game tickets. The idea there is that the price of a ticket is based entirely on demand, and changes from game to game, or even hour to hour on game days. We're looking at partnering with a company that can help us explore all the implications of going down that path. We'll let you know what we find.

A great suggestion about focusing on entertainment in the 200 Level came from Andrew. Making the in-game experience the best it can be is important to me. I want this place to be as fun and as loud as it was in the old Coliseum. One of the things we can do to make sure that happens is to engage every fan in every seat in the arena. Assets that are dedicated to the 200 Level every night might be one way to do that.

Finally, Kiran asked about guest speakers from the Bobcats going to schools. I'm proud to say we're able to make appearances at schools, clubs and civic organizations all over North and South Carolina. If you need a speaker for your class or organization please contact our community relations department. They'll find the right speaker for your group and schedule a date that works for everybody.

I want to finish by saying how grateful I am for all your feedback. The response to Chairman's Corner has been more than I ever anticipated, and I appreciate everybody who takes the time to write.

MJ


Back for Second Round - 11/4/10
11/1/10 Mailbag

Welcome to the second edition of my mailbag at Chairman's Corner. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to send their submission. I do read all of them and sincerely appreciate the feedback.

In the first edition of the mailbag I broke down all the questions you sent into categories and tried to address them that way. As things change in those categories I will certainly let you know and update the answers we've posted here. Rich, Billy, David, Roger, Carson, John, Erwin and Todd submitted questions this week about television coverage. Michael and Todd asked about changing the team name. Check out the answers to those questions in the first edition of the mailbag.

From here on out I’ll be answering the 4 or 5 best questions submitted each week. Let’s get to the best of this week’s questions:

Alex asked, "As a former player how do the rest of the owners treat you now that you're an owner, and what effect does that have on collective bargaining negotiations?"
Great question Alex. The other owners in the league have all been very welcoming since I bought control of the team. I have called several of them for advice and they've been nothing but helpful as I learn the ins and outs of owning a team. The same holds true for the Commissioner and his staff in New York. As for collective bargaining, I can't say too much because the negotiations are still going on. I do have a unique perspective on the situation because of my background as a player, but I'm an owner now and that's my focus every day.

Oneka wants to know, "will we see more Tyrus Thomas stuff in the new Team Store?"
Absolutely! Tyrus is one of the most exciting young players in the league and a fan favorite because his athletic ability. Come back by the Team Store and there will be Tyrus jerseys and shirts for you to wear. I would love to see more of them out in the community.

Frederick asked about the process we go through internally when it comes evaluating and making trades. I like this question because it's good for fans to know that there's a process, and that pulling off a trade is sometimes a very difficult thing to do. There are a lot of rules that govern how trades are made in this league, so we have to get feedback from several people internally before we can even consider making a move. The conversations include Rod and Larry of course, but we also need to hear from our legal and finance people about the salary cap implications of any move. We have to consider what effect a trade might have on the locker room and our chemistry. There are a lot of factors that help us decide whether to pursue a trade or not, and how far we can go to make a deal happen.

Michael, Brian, Jason, Ross, Rahshoh, Sandy and Kyle – thanks for your suggestions on trades and player moves. Our goal is to build a team that wins as one, and we're 100% committed to finding the right group of players to help us do that.

I got a nice note from a Checkers fan thanking us for the improved relationship with the hockey team. That's part of our Win As One philosophy. We want this arena to be the destination in the Carolinas for sports and entertainment. Hockey is a big part of that. The more fans that come to Bobcats games, to Checkers games, to concerts and family shows, the better it is for Charlotte and the Carolinas. Providing entertainment that appeals to everybody is good for the community, and that's one of the ways we Win As One.

Another nice note, this one from Dan, commented on the new "Player Profiles" page at bobcats.com. We're proud of the changes we're making on our website, but we're not done yet. We've got some talented people working on it day and night (sometimes I wonder if these guys ever sleep), and they're always looking for ways to make it better. You should check out the live chat at bobcats.com during games. We’ve got Bobcats fans from all over the world chatting while the game is going on. Yes – from all over the world. I was surprised at first too, but I’ve seen the reports and we've got fans in Europe, Asia and Australia coming to bobcats.com to chat during games.

And take a look at our Facebook page. We'll have a lot of special offers on tickets there throughout the year, so become a fan of ours and check back often.

Five great questions and comments for the second edition of the mailbag. Thanks again to everyone who wrote in. Keep them coming here, and I’ll keep reading and responding.

MJ

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Your First Round of Answers - 11/1/10

First let me say thank you to the hundreds of fans who took the time to visit Chairman’s Corner and send questions or comments here. The feedback is great and exactly what we need to get better. I grouped your questions into categories to make it easier for everyone.

Team Name and Colors
I'll start with questions about our team name and colors. Mo, Justin, Pete, rpj90, Eddie, John, Alex, Nathan, Robby, Jennifer, Levester, Luke and Jermaine all brought up good questions that we've been thinking about internally for several months now. This summer we hired a research company to conduct a market survey to see how the community feels about our name, colors and possible changes to those things. We're getting those results back in the next couple of weeks, and what we learn from them will help us make a decision on whether or not to change the name or colors.

Television Coverage
I got a bunch of questions about this. Craig, Chris, Reid, Tim, Anthony, Travis, John, Elworth, Joshua, Kerry and Geno - we work closely with our partner SportSouth to make all of our games available to as many homes and businesses in North and South Carolina as we can. Ultimately, it's up to each individual cable and satellite provider to show our games in HD on SportSouth, but we're doing everything we can convince them to carry our broadcasts. For more on our games on SportSouth, click here.

Radio Coverage
I heard about this a lot last season, and Ernie asked in an email about it as well - what happened to the postgame radio show? When we moved our games over to WFNZ, we moved to a station with a very packed lineup of sports programming. From other games to coaches shows and things like that, WFNZ has a full schedule and right now that leaves our postgame show out of the mix. I miss it too, and we're working with WFNZ to find a way to bring it back.

In-Arena Experience
More than anything, I want the experience at Time Warner Cable Arena to be just as good as it used to be in the old Hive when I played there. The crowd in Charlotte used to be electric. A Hornets game was THE place to be seen. The entertainment was great, and there was a family atmosphere. That's what we're trying to get back to. Bluewings, Robin, Paul, Bruce, Brittany, Tracey and Nate - I hear you about things like marching bands, t-shirt sizes, mascots, acoustics and concessions. We're working hard to make the experience at a Bobcats game great no matter where you sit. We also want to make this a showcase for local talent too. If you can sing the anthem or have some amazing talent, click here to send an email to our Game Operations crew. I know Charlotte's got talent - let's see it!

Marketing the Team
There are lots of ideas about how to get the word out about our team, and Robert, Suzan, Ryan and Tabitha all had suggestions or wanted to know what our plan is for doing that. Hopefully by now you know about "Win As One" and what it means to me and the franchise. It's really more than just a slogan or campaign theme - it's the foundation for everything we're doing and want to accomplish. It's our approach to the game of basketball, and our commitment to the community. We only win when we win as one.

Team Store
One place we've made real improvement already is in our team store. As Dan and Big pointed out, there were some deficiencies there before, and we addressed them with our re-design. Our partners at Jordan Brand came out to help us with ideas and execution, and now we've got a team store everyone can be proud of. Some things in the store, like the Jordan Brand Bobcats gear, can only be purchased there. Others can also be purchased online at shopbobcats.com – that's for David at Fort Riley who can't make it to the team store easily. No excuses now - Bobcats gear for everyone this Christmas!

Tickets
Obviously selling tickets is what we do. The more people we get into the building, the more fun everybody has. There's nothing like a close game in a sold out arena to make you come back for more, and that's what we're trying to create - the best entertainment in town, and a demand for it. Bobby, Sean, Thomas and Jim asked about options other than full season tickets. For all our fans who live outside the Charlotte market, we have partial plans that fit your schedule and budget. Click here to see all the options.

Sheila - I appreciate your passion for seeing a full building. I want it full every night too, and we're looking at every way possible to make it happen.

Service
One of the benefits our Season Ticket Holders really appreciate is having their own personal account manager. Lex, Wesley, Kim and Shawn - no matter what the question or request, you can always reach out to your personal account manager by email to get an answer or help. They're here to help make your experience the best it can be, so let them know what they can do to help.

Community
We're committed to building a connection between the team and the community. That's been my focus since the day I bought the team. That's why I've reinvested so heavily into our community relations efforts. Mike, I appreciate your suggestion on a green initiative. Right now we're in the final stages of completely revamping our community relations efforts, and we'll be rolling that out in the next few weeks.

Help Wanted
Lots of you inquired about job openings with the Bobcats. We're always looking for quality people to help us make this a model NBA franchise. Lorenzo, Bryant and Cristi, click here to check out the jobs we currently have open and submit your resume to our Human Resources department.

Ownership
Tyler and Jay want to know what made me want to be an owner, and what my favorite moment has been so far as the owner of the team. Ownership is something I've felt like I wanted to do for a long time now. It's a great opportunity to take the things I've learned in life, in business and in basketball and bring them all together. It's also the best way I can say thanks to the people of the Carolinas who have supported me throughout my career. Obviously all that came to a crescendo when we hosted playoff games at Time Warner Cable Arena. That atmosphere was special, and I want to get back there for more.

Contraction
I've read the stories about contraction, and Evelyn, I appreciate your concern about what it means for us. I can assure you that I’m not going anywhere. I will be the owner of this team for years and years to come. The support this community has already shown over the last few months is remarkable, and I look forward to the day when we see a full building every time we play.

Basketball Operations
I got more questions and comments about our team than anything else. That’s good. That means you're passionate and you want us to win. I do too, and so do Rod and Larry. Every day we evaluate talent - whether it's the guys on our roster or others around the league. Every day we look for ways to improve and take this team to the next level. To all the people who wrote about trades, free agents and X's and O's, I say thanks for your passion and for sharing your ideas with us. We win as one when everyone contributes to what we're doing, and your ideas are a part of that.

That's everybody from the first batch of questions. Thanks to Jenn, Florian, Chris, Sherry, Tim, Angelo, Elton, Jermaine, Mike, Chad, Andrew, Kasim and Mitchell for your encouragement and comments. We're doing our best to make you proud, and looking for ways to get better.

Keep the questions and comments coming!

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