When the Charlotte Hornets signed Lance Stephenson earlier this year, the benefits to the Hornets were apparent. Here was a guy who could offer the kind of tough defense, athleticism, and just enough shooting to fit the Hornets needs for the two guard in coach Steve Clifford’s system.
For Stephenson, the benefits have seemed fairly obvious too: more money. Then when Paul George broke his leg, Stephenson was certainly on the team with brighter future for the upcoming season. However there may be another benefit lurking in the background that Stephenson gained from trading Larry Bird for Michael Jordan.
TMZ has video of a secret pickup game that occurred in New York at the Terminal 23. Terminal 23 is a basketball facility associated with Jordan Brand. The TMZ footage focused on Carmelo Anthony, who is a Jordan Brand endorsement guy. However Lance Stephenson is not. His current shoe deal is with AND1, the same group who promotes street basketball.
I don’t know who controls access to Terminal 23. Of the players involved, only Anthony was a Jordan Brand sponsored athlete. The other players included Stephenson, JR Smith, his brother, David Lee, and Chris Douglas-Roberts. We are in New York, where Lance Stephenson was a high school star, but I have to think that his new connection to Jordan was partly responsible.
Of the course the big move that Stephenson could make would be to sign with Jordan Brand. This move could be coming sooner rather than later. If you look at the Jordan Brand family of athletes you will notice two trends. There are a number of former Tar Heels. There are also a number of former Charlotte Bobcats or current Charlotte Hornets. Jordan clearly tries to use the Hornets to promote the Brand, and the Brand to promote the Hornets.
If Stephenson becomes the star that the Hornets faithful hope he can be, it will be only natural for him to move to the Jordan Brand at some time in the future.
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