March 22, 2010
By: Zachariah Blott
On the court, the Bobcats’ immediate future is looking rosy with the team poised to make their first ever foray into the playoffs. Off the court, the club’s long-term prospects may have gone from clunk to crash.
Michael Jordan became the Bobcats’ majority owner last week after 4 years of minority ownership. He and his investment group bought their way in with $275 million, and MJ declared Thursday that he will be very involved in Bobcat operations, planning to make them a “winning program.”
Maybe Jordan didn’t read the flowchart, but his input will not lead to winning. In fact, the best thing he can do right now is stay far away and treat himself like an outsider who must rely on the guys who know the game to run the show. Instead he’s going to purchase a home in Charlotte and become a bigger cog in what’s going on.
The problems with this are obvious. Almost everything he’s done while working in the front offices of both Washington and Charlotte has been rightfully panned. Beyond the jokes about drafting Adam Morrison and Kwame Brown, Jordan is also responsible for incorrectly evaluating talent that’s already on his team. He threw away Jared Dudley in the Jason Richardson trade last year. Since then, Dudley has blown up for Phoenix and been an important piece to their resurgence this season. Jordan also gave away Shannon Brown last year, and Brown is now one of the Lakers’ most productive reserves who started admirably during Kobe’s absence.
Jordan has also been a bit of a distraction when he is around the clubs he’s worked with. Before playing for the Wizards, he was the President of Basketball Operations in Washington and would occasionally show up to practices to scrimmage with the players. Hint to Greatest Guard Ever: that’s a major distraction. Do you think the guys were discussing the X’s and O’s of the offense in the locker room after practice? Hell no, it was more likely, “Holy crap, we just played with Michael Jordan!”
And recently he was jawing with rookie Gerald Henderson after a Charlotte practice (this definitely is not the year for a UNC guy to be heckling a Duke guy about his college, by the way), which was quickly followed up by losing to the youngster twice in a row at H-O-R-S-E. Way to put your team in the headlines for something stupid, new face-of-the-organization. By the way, that’s the predictably mediocre Gerald Henderson who Jordan drafted with the 12th selection, ahead of Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Omri Casspi, Taj Gibson, DeJuan Blair, Chase Budinger, etc.
Part of what makes Jordan a distraction isn’t just his aura of greatness that illuminates a room like the healing glow of late-night TV: it’s also that he trash talks players on his own team. If The Jordan Rules taught me anything, it’s that MJ knows how to be a world-class asshole to his teammates. He has a huge ego and wants to make sure everyone always knows he’s top dog (remember his Hall of Fame speech?). Imagine a boss like that. Now imagine that boss has always been crappy at his job, and then imagine he now wants to spend more time around all the employees to make sure things run smoothly. Yeah, this is going to get ugly.
More on Michael Jordan’s move to own the Bobcats after the break…