Michael Jordan has always stood for greatness in the game of basketball.
But this is the first time where no one wants to “be like Mike”.
As the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, Jordan’s failure is always before him as the team owns the worst record in the league with only 7 wins (and 57 losses) on the season for a .109 winning percentage and Charlotte could end up posting the worst winning percentage in NBA history.
Number 23 used to dominate on the floor and will go down in the annals as the best player to ever play the game, but now the Bobcats are mired in a franchise-low 21-game losing streak and are one loss away from making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
A Charlotte (7-57) loss to Orlando on Wednesday or New York on Thursday firmly places them as owners of the league’s worst-ever winning percentage (likely at .106, 7-59).
Does this tarnish Jordan’s six NBA titles, 5 league MVP’s, 14 NBA All-Star appearances and 10 NBA scoring titles, just to name a few of his on-court accomplishments?
Some would argue, yes. It’s been 11-years since MJ retired from the Chicago Bulls and it’s almost as if everyone has forgotten those glory days and instead chided him for the debacle that is the Bobcats.
One thing is for sure: he is certainly moving him up the latter in the worst ex-NBA boss title currently held by one of MJ’s contemporaries.
If it wasn’t for Isiah Thomas owning a .347 winning percentage as an executive with the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks, Jordan — who ranks third on a Wall Street Journal list — and his .369 winning percentage would be king once again.
According to the list, former Los Angeles Clippers executive Elgin Baylor ranks second on the list, so Jordan still has some work today.
Actually a lot of work to do.
Let us count the ways of Jordan’s front office follies: drafted Kwame Brown No. 1 overall in 2001 (over Tyson Chandler, No. 2 and Pau Gasol, No. 3), Charlotte has only reached the postseason only once since Jordan took over basketball operations in 2006, and this season the Bobcats have not only tanked the season away, but have become a constant punch line around the league.
Truly amazing since Jordan held a .649 winning percentage during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls.
Jeff Van Gundy, who has become a wise sage on everything from “stop flopping” to Dwight Howard’s shenanigans in Orlando, probably said it best about Jordan last week with the line, “Michael Jordan the player would have detested Michael Jordan the owner.”
Former “everywhere” head coach Larry Brown, who was recently named head coach at SMU sees it another way.
“The biggest problem — and he might get mad at me — he needs more people to challenge him and I don’t think he has enough of that. He needs more people around him who he has respect for who are not afraid to tell him what’s right. That’s the one thing I’m disappointed in,” Brown said, the former Bobcats head coach, in an interview with NBA TV.
“He tries to help a lot of people, put a lot of his friends in positions where he can kind of help them, but at the end of the day if they have his best interests they’ll be challenging him because he does want to be the best. We made the playoffs, but he wasn’t satisfied with that.”
He echoed similar, strongly worded sentiments on the Dan Patrick show:
Well, at least we know now that Jordan can show signs of displeasure in Charlotte.
The fact that “he wasn’t satisfied” with just making the playoffs paints the picture that there is more to Michael Jordan the owner that just barely clinging to a .109 winning percentage.
On Wednesday afternoon, Jordan came correct regarding Larry Brown’s comments on the Dan Patrick Show. Yet what’s more interesting than Jordan defending himself as not surrounding himself with “yes” men and “spies”, is the overall mindset with Charlotte’s front office and Jordan determined to not, “turn my back on the plan”.
“Ever since I’ve owned the team (buying control from Bob Johnson in March 2010), I think we’ve made some very positive moves on the business side. We had to make a difficult decision to turn over the (basketball) talent,” said in an exclusive interview with the Charlotte Observer.
“This year the talent we had didn’t respond, but that doesn’t cause me to turn my back on the plan.’’
Part of that plan is developing the young core of Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and come June’s NBA Draft, perhaps Anthony Davis. Until then, Jordan is left to convince the rest of us Jordan the owner has the same passion and goal to succeed as Jordan the player.
“My success will be judged differently … I’ve come to accept I’ll be scrutinized more than any other owner,’’ Jordan said. “I know now that I have to have a tough skin about these things.’’
Charlotte has lost 10-straight games on the road and hasn’t won a game since beating the Toronto Raptors at home on March 17. Will the horror continue for the Bobcats against the Magic and Knicks?
Watch out Isiah Thomas.
Jordan just might end up winning another title.