|Jordan remains beloved in North Carolina, despite the Bobcats' dreadful play. (US Presswire)|
Mike tried, and Mike failed. But Mike being Mike, he couldn't fail just a little bit. He doesn't do anything just a little a bit. Gambling, golf, baseball, basketball, failure -- if he's doing it, he's doing it as big as it's ever been done.
Michael Jordan, running a basketball team?
Failure as big as it's ever been done.
This is statistical fact, unlike some of the other events in Jordan's all-or-nothing history. Was he the best basketball player of all time? Some say yes, but it's subjective. Was that the most bizarre career change in sports, him leaving the Chicago Bulls at the height of their NBA dynasty to ride the buses of minor-league baseball? Maybe yes, maybe no. Golf addict? Yes. Gambling addict? Apparently. He doesn't do anything halfway, but it's not always possible to measure the exact heights, or depths, of his proclivities. All you could say was: He did it, and not just a little bit. He did it all the way.
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Same goes for losing as an NBA executive. He did it, and not just a little bit. He did it all the way.
This guy is something out of The Unnatural, a reverse Roy Hobbs. When he walks down the street, people will look and they'll say, "There goes Michael Jordan, the worst NBA executive there ever was."
And that's saying something. Any idea how bad Elgin Baylor was? Chris Mullin? Isiah Thomas?
They're bad, but when it comes to the worst, well, let's carry this 1980s movie motif a bit further and quote from Highlander: There can only be one. And if the topic is worst basketball executive, that one is Michael Jordan. He's Lowlander. The worst of all time.
The proof? Here's your proof. The Charlotte Bobcats went 7-59 this season, a winning percentage of .106 -- the worst winning percentage in NBA history. The previous mark (.110) was held by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who went 9-73, but the lockout saved the 2011-12 Bobcats from having to play a full season. They played only 66 games, but don't fool yourselves into thinking Michael Jordan's Bobcats could have topped nine wins if they'd had the full 82-game schedule.
Michael Jordan's Bobcats probably wouldn't have topped seven wins.
They lost their last 23 games, see. And these were blowouts. Scores like 100-68 and 114-88 and 101-73, and that was just in the season's final eight days. Michael Jordan's Bobcats were terrible and getting terrible-er. If the season hadn't ended when it did, David Stern might have just contracted them. Michael Jordan's Bobcats are like the NFL's Pro Bowl: A product so bad, it reflects poorly on the entire league. Better just to do away with it.
Then again, Michael Jordan isn't going anywhere. He's not the general manager or president, but the owner. Fire the owner? Never happens. If a mean-spirited loser like Donald Sterling can run the Clippers for 31 years, a popular guy like Michael Jordan has carte blanche to run the Bobcats on his terms.
How bad is Jordan at owning an NBA team? George Shinn was better. And Charlotte despised George Shinn, whose Bible-toting tenure as owner of the original Charlotte Hornets was so hypocritical, so apocryphal, that Charlotte seemed almost relieved when he relocated the team to New Orleans in 2002.
Charlotte doesn't despise Michael Jordan. That would never happen. He's a Carolina guy through and through, a native of Wilmington and a star at UNC, and the guy who bought the Bobcats from Bob Johnson in 2010, ensuring the team would remain in town.
Under Jordan's leadership, there is no floor to the badness. Just when you think he can't possibly go any lower, he does. Drafting Kwame Brown No. 1 overall in 2001 would've been the career nadir for most executives, if for no other reason than the obvious one -- most executives would never get another chance after screwing up that badly -- but Jordan has plumbed new depths.
Jordan hasn't merely sent the Wizards and Bobcats toward the bottom of the standings; he has facilitated other franchises' rise to greatness: trading Rip Hamilton from the Wizards to the Pistons for a bunch of nonsense in 2002, then trading Tyson Chandler from the Bobcats to the Mavericks for even more nonsense in 2010. The Pistons won an NBA title in 2004, the Mavericks in 2011.
That's what Michael Jordan does. He's Midas for other teams, Roy Hobble for his own. And this summer, when people consider the 2011-12 Bobcats of Michael Jordan, they'll laugh and they'll say, "There goes the worst NBA team that ever lived."
For now, anyway. Jordan has a lot of years left.