Updated: Mar 29
By: Jacob Walters
The stats are undeniable: 30.1 PPG; 32,292 points; 14-time All Star; 6-time NBA Champ; 6-time NBA Finals MVP, 10-time scoring champ, and a 5-time NBA MVP. Throw in a couple dunking contest championships. Arguably the NBA’s G.O.A.T., his name is Michael Jordan, a.k.a. “His Airness.” However, his lofty status above the rim hasn’t translated to ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornetts.
Jordan’s conspiring to keep Isiah Thomas off the 1992 Dream Team should have predicted his future in NBA ownership, and sure enough, Jordan’s poor career as an executive extends far beyond his Bobcats/Hornets years. You might not know that in 1998, Air Jordan scolded then-Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin, telling him that he should “sell the team” and that “players shouldn’t suffer from his incompetence.” Jordan then became President of Basketball Operations for the Wizards, where he had the final say in all basketball matters pertaining to the Wizards. The result? Drafting Kwame Brown with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft and trading Rip Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse.
Jordan’s also had a hard time luring quality free agents and selecting solid draft picks. Kemba Walker even left Charlotte to go to a more competitive team in the Boston Celtics. Jordan’s draft picks? Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky, Noah Vonleh, and Malik Monk. Ouch. That hurts for the Hornets, especially when the Hornets used to draft players like Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, and Baron Davis.
As for Kwame Brown, there are stories of Jordan routinely questioning Brown’s manhood, frequently reducing Brown to tears, even referring to Brown as a “flaming faggot”, according to Michael Leahy’s book, When Nothing Else Matters. At times Jordan would snap at Brown during games of one-on-one, saying “you better call me Daddy, ******.” No wonder Brown didn’t pan out in the NBA. Pollin fired Jordan in 2003, prompting another grudge from Jordan.
Jordan’s Bobcats/Hornets tenure hasn’t been any better. During the 2011-2012 season, the Bobcats posted a 7-59 record, their .106 winning percentage the worst in NBA history.
The Hornets/Bobcats have only made the playoffs twice during Jordan’s ten full tenures as owner of the Hornets. Jordan also headlined a group of 10 to 14 hardline owners that wanted to reduce the players’ share of basketball-related income at 50 percent and as low as 47. This drew sharp criticism from journalists, with Jason Whitlock even calling Jordan a “sellout” because of Jordan’s earlier spat with Pollin.
Jordan off-the-court works smacks of shadiness…allegedly! Jordan paid former lover Karla Knafel $250,000 to keep their relationship a secret, and promised her $5 million for remaining silent and agreeing not to file a paternity suit after Knafel got pregnant in 1991, according to Knafel. Jordan has also invested in Nike with his Air Jordan line. Nike has been accused over time of producing their goods from sweatshops in China, South Korea, and Taiwan. Nike has also been notorious for using child labor in those countries, a bad look for the “G.O.A.T.”
Michael Jordan also got kicked out of a Miami country club for refusing to abide by their dress code. LeBron James called out Jordan over his silence on particular social issues, mainly pertaining to African American men. Jordan will be remembered for taking shots at everyone at his Hall of Fame speech, ranging from his high school coach to Bulls general manager Jerry Krause. Jordan even cheated against an old lady in a game of cards and punched Steve Kerr in the face! The latter incident was because Jordan was adamant on dissolving the player’s union, something that Kerr was the leader of. What a jerk!
To say that Jordan is the best NBA player of all time is not a stretch, close to a slam dunk. The accomplishments of Jordan as a player back that up. However, his ownership tenure argues a solid case for being the worst owner of the 21st century. Sorry to make you tear up over this, Michael.