Jordan’s putting up bricks as an owner
The 66-game season might have been tough on players’ bodies, but for fans it’s been an unqualified, if unintended, success. Burgeoning rivalries were intensified. New ones were born. Except for a couple of nights for the San Antonio Spurs, each game mattered.
What’s more, it was a merciful season. Gone was the malaise that typically infects the NBA between February and March. Finally, and perhaps most humane, the Charlotte Bobcats played 16 fewer games.
The Bobcats — with seven wins against 54 losses and riding an 18-game losing streak – have a chance to replace the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers as the worst team in NBA history. Five more losses seems a cinch for this team, as the weakest opponent left on Bobcats’ schedule are the Wizards, who beat them by only 28 in Charlotte 11 days ago.
Of course, no one would care about the Charlotte Bobcats if they weren’t owned by Michael Jordan. You needn’t subscribe to the Parcellian maxim — “You are what your record says you are” — to understand what Jordan has become. By now he should be identifiable to all as the worst owner in the game (an unofficial title I hereby take from Jim Dolan and bequeath Jordan). Worse still, it’s becoming clear that his two careers — one in uniform, the other in a suit with too many buttons — are inversely proportional. As great as he was as a player, well, that’s how bad he might turn out as an owner and front-office guy.
It’s difficult to feel much sympathy for a kid who won an NCAA championship and stands to be the first pick after just a few months of college ball. But Kentucky’s Anthony Davis deserves better.
Davis should be a franchise player on a defense-first team. Unfortunately for him, the Bobcats are last in the league in scoring. Or, put another way, the burden of proof isn’t on the 19-year-old. It’s on the 49-year-old owner.
I’ve seen some deplorable owners in my day. There’s the aforementioned Dolan, and one of my personal favorites, Leon Hess, the man who consigned the Jets to Giants Stadium. Jordan might not be as pernicious or out of touch. But he’s in a class by himself.
He’s not, say, Paul Allen, with his Microsoft fortune. He’s not Donald Sterling, a landlord. He’s the greatest basketball player who ever lived. And, as such, he has no plausible deniability. If nothing else, he’s supposed to know the game.
I’m not making any snap judgments here. As an owner/general manager, Jordan has already accumulated a pretty extensive (and damning) body of work. He’ll always be the guy who drafted Kwame Brown with the first pick. He’s the guy who drafted Adam Morrison. He traded Rip Hamilton. He traded Gerald Wallace. He traded Tyson Chandler.
Knowing the game also means hiring people who know the game. Instead, Jordan has given Rod Higgins a job-for-life. When all is said and done, Higgins might make Isiah Thomas look like Red Auerbach. (OK, maybe I’m getting a little carried away.)
Finally, the guy’s supposed to work. On this count in the indictment, I respectfully dismiss deputy commissioner Adam Silver’s recent assertion that MJ “is playing less golf than he ever has.” I mean, is that supposed to be a source of comfort to the fans of Charlotte? Instead, I refer you to a man who once coached Jordan’s Bobcats.
“The work he put in to be a great player and the work you put in to be a great executive, those are different things,” Sam Vincent told the Washington Post’s Rick Maese. “That additional time you spend on jump shots, running, dunking, I don’t know if he puts in that same amount of time as an executive or if he even cares to.”
It should surprise no one that Vincent has since said his remarks “were used out of context.” Rather, Vincent added, “I love what Michael is doing . . . ”
What he is doing?
Michael Jordan is five games from being the worst of all time.