While Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan may not endorse all of Lance Stephenson's "antics" -- such as blowing in LeBron James' ear during a playoff game -- he does admire Stephenson's competitiveness.
"One of the reasons why I admire his game is he takes on challenges," Jordan told ESPN. "For us to get any place in the East, we need someone to challenge LeBron. He challenged LeBron."
Stephenson signed a three-year, $27 million deal with Charlotte this summer after spending his first four NBA seasons with the Pacers. Known primarily as an aggressive, physical defender, Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game last season.
Last season, Charlotte -- then called the Bobcats -- went 43-39 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2010. They lost to the Heat in the first round. Stephenson's Pacers lost to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Hornets open this season against the Bucks on Wednesday.
- Dan Gartland