|Former Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson with Maverick owner Mark Cuban.|
Throwback interview with Bob Johnson (founder of BET, former owner of Bobcats).
(Interview from March 23, 2004)
I still talk about this interview with some people today. I'm quick to point out that I know Bob Johnson. I didn't know him before doing this interview. I only admired him from a distance. We all know him as the founder and former CEO of BET. He also serves on the board of a number of businesses. Johnson has his hands in a number of things. He'll tell you that his life isn't that busy. And I'll continue to tell you and him differently. Busy or not, he's still the coolest guy in sports and business.
|Former Bobcat owner Bob Johnson.|
Anthony: Tell me how long you've wanted to own a sports franchise?
Bob: I've been looking into getting an NBA franchise, oh probably going back the last six or seven years. Again, it's a product that I understand. It was something that I thought I'd like to do once I left BET.
Anthony: You have a very busy life (Both smile.) Can you tell me what a day with Bob Johnson is like?
Bob: Well, Anthony. It's not as busy as you might think.
Bob: No, I've got a lot of people who run the businesses that I've involved in. That leaves me with a lot of time to sort of strategically think of new business opportunities. It's more fun than it is work.
Anthony: Bob, tell me what some of your hobbies are.
Bob: I like to play tennis. I read books. I might learn how to play golf one day. (Both laugh.) I go out to dinner with friends, and that's about it.
Anthony: What sports did you play while you were coming up?
Anthony: Which NBA team was your favorite to watch before you became an owner?
Bob: I used to watch the Chicago Bulls, just like everyone else. That's where Michael (Jordan) played, so everybody watched them. I also watched the Wizards when he played with them. I'm obviously fans of teams that are close to Philly. I like (Allen) Iverson. I also like C-Web (Chris Webber) because he used to play in D.C.
Bob: Well, it wasn't a partnership. Michael and I have been good friends, going back 10 or 12 years. We've always talked about one of us owning a basketball team one day. He made his run at the Wizards and it didn't work out. Then I got the (Charlotte) franchise, and I started talking to him to see if he wanted to be a partner with this. He's like me and got the "ownership bug." So once you get that there's not much you can do except do your best to try to buy a team. And that's what Michael is doing. We talked about him coming with me, but at the end of the day he wanted to be an owner. As an owner I can understand that emotion. So one day he will be an owner.
|M.J. and Johnson sit courtside.|
Bob: Denzel Washington is a great buddy of mine. Of course, he's a great actor. Morgan Freeman is also one of the finest actors in the country.
Anthony: Do you have a any future plans do get into politics?
Anthony: (Smiles.) OK. I'll leave that alone. Let's conclude with free association, where you simply tell me the first thing that comes to mind.
Bob: (Smiles.) OK.
Anthony: Earth, Wind and Fire.
Bob: Great band.
Anthony: Bill Cosby.
Anthony: We're done. (Smiles.) Thanks for the time.
Bob: You bet.