Michael Jordan is the easiest owner to work for in the NBA - Hornets coach Clifford
Steve Clifford has guided the Charlotte Hornets to the NBA playoffs in two of his first three seasons as head coach and that is thanks to star owner Michael Jordan.
Regarded as the greatest player of all-time after winning six NBA titles and earning five league MVPs with the Chicago Bulls in an illustrious career spanning 15 seasons, Jordan has since turned his hand to ownership.
After acquiring controlling interest of Charlotte in 2010, the Hornets - formally known as the Bobcats - have flirted with the playoffs.
But the arrival of former New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Clifford, who replaced Mike Dunlap in 2013, has helped kick-start Jordan's regime in Charlotte.
And Clifford is benefitting from Jordan's hands-on approach at Time Warner Cable Arena, where the Hornets finished sixth in the Eastern Conference in 2015-16 before losing to the Miami Heat in the first round of the postseason.
"I get asked this all the time, other coaches even ask me. Look, he is obviously highly competitive, and he's disappointed when we don't play well. But I would bet that day-to-day, and overall he may be one of the easiest owners to work [for]," the 54-year-old told ESPN in a Q&A.
"Simply because he understands, he truly understands. Not that other owners [are] different, but I think what happens a lot in this league is we're all fans. And then all of a sudden you watch a thousand games and you think you know. Look, I watch NFL football, I love NFL football, and like you know the [Carolina] Panthers are great. And I'll sit there and watch an NFL game and [think] 'Geez, why aren't they running?' I didn't even play high school football. I don't know anything about football. It's just the nature of our business. You're going to be second-guessed.
"The difference with him is he watches every game. He watches it closely. He knows our team. He knows our players. And he has a vision of how he wants us to play. We're in contact all the time. And he gives me great feedback. And we have the kind of relationship where he tells me when he doesn't like something. And he also knows how it can happen. I could give you so many stories of times when I thought he'd be upset and he's supportive. I've been so fortunate with the experiences that I've had."
Clifford added: "Michael's a nuts-and-bolts guy. He believes in work. He believes in team. He believes in guys sacrificing for each other. It makes the whole thing easier.
"Like the guys sitting out games [to rest], for instance, you should hear him and Patrick [Ewing] with resting players. I mean, like, they didn't do that when they played. And it's just so refreshing for me - he was saying the other day he never sat out games. He said, 'I would never have sat out a game.' That's who he is."