Whether Michael Jordan knows it or not, Cam Newton has been watching him and learning.

Newton has forged a relationship with Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, while living in Charlotte, North Carolina. There is a mutual respect there, with Jordan a regular at many of the Panthers games and Newton known to sit courtside at Hornets home games.

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“Anytime I get an opportunity to speak to him, obviously it’s cherished,” Newton said. “But yet along those lines, Michael Jordan or any person I’ve ever had a relationship with that has played this game or played a game, got their name because performing great when their greatness was required, playing in the biggest game, The NBA Finals for Mike. I also had a relationship with Mr. (Jerry) West and him playing basketball as well. Everybody being able to perform at the highest stage.”

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Jordan’s spokesperson Estee Portnoy said in a text to The Associated Press that Jordan is “sorry that he won’t be able to make it (to the Super Bowl), but he’s rooting for the Panthers! #KeepPounding”

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