x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Michael Jordan not a slam dunk as a franchise executive

He may be NBA's greatest player, but the same cannot be said about the manner in which he has managed the Washington Wizards or the Charlotte Bobcats.

Michael Jordan, right, has overseen flop shows from the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats.
Michael Jordan, right, has overseen flop shows from the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Bobcats.

Michael Jordan is the greatest player I ever saw, and nearly everyone would say the same. Six NBA titles, five MVP awards, 10 scoring titles, two Olympic gold medals and more basketball shoes sold than any human being in history.

Which is all great and admirable – but should not earn him a free pass as a basketball executive.

As a decision-maker, Jordan has been disastrous. However, fans and media seem reluctant to criticise him, perhaps out of deference to his exploits as an athlete.

His record as the president of the Washington Wizards and now as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats is horrendous. His time running the Wizards began in 2000, and he had the final say in all personnel matters, such as drafting mega-bust Kwame Brown with the No 1 pick in 2001.

The next year he began comeback No 3 and played for the Wizards for two seasons. He retired again, assumed he would be welcomed back as the team president but was dismissed by owner Abe Pollin. In his three seasons with Washington, the Wizards never made the play-offs.

Since 2006, he has been in charge of the Bobcats, and they are awful. Jordan seems dedicated to building teams of expensive fringe players, which he calls "rebuilding" but looks far more like ongoing incompetence.

The Bobcats are 3-10, and the only team that might be worse are his old Wizards team.

As a player, Jordan was the best. That talent has not translated as an executive.