Michael Jordan and Larry Brown Feud Highlights Bobcats' Dysfunction
Wait...you knew that already? What tipped you off?
Was it the 7-57 record? The fact that the Bobcats are practically destined for the worst winning percentage in league history? That Charlotte has become the de facto resting place for everyone else's starters?
Or is it the latest spate between oft-criticized team owner Michael Jordan and legendary coach Larry Brown?
Brown, who recently took his umpteenth gig by returning to the collegiate ranks at Southern Methodist, had this to say about His Airness on The Dan Patrick Show:
“He’s around people who don’t have a clue.’’Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
“He had people around me that made me sick.’’
“It was almost like they were spies wondering what we were doing and getting back to him.’’
“A coach, a GM and a president all have to be attached at the hip.’’
All of which comes off more as a thinly-veiled criticism of Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, with whom Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer suggests Brown had misgivings regarding personnel decisions.
MJ may not be the brightest front-office mind, but even he's smart enough to figure out what (or who) Brown was getting at:
"I'm pretty sure he's talking about Rod and (head athletic trainer) Steve Stricker, and I don't think that's an accurate description of either one of them."
“He (Brown) had a lot of input on whatever we did. I never sidestepped him in making a decision. I gave my advice as a former player. I thought we developed a trust where everyone could share his opinion. I gave my input, but I wasn’t the only one whose opinion counted.
“I didn’t always agree with what he recommended, but I thought that was healthy. The owner, the coach and the general manager should be able to all disagree. I’d like to think that’s the healthiest approach.’’
Brown was none too pleased with Higgins when he decided to trade Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks for Erick Dampier's expiring contract.
Are the 2011-12 Bobcats the worst team in NBA history?
A reasonable enough disagreement given Chandler's emergence as one of the premier defensive forces in the NBA and Dampier's career-long run of mediocrity.
Except, of course, when Brown shared his complaints with Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, effectively giving up on the team and paving the way for his ouster three months later.
As such, Brown's quibbles with MJ's regime read more as sour grapes than anything, though that should come as little surprise when considering the source. After all, Brown has long had a reputation for rubbing his employers the wrong way and wearing out his welcome.
He's one of the most successful basketball coaches of all-time, but also one of the most fidgety, having spent time with 13 teams, college and pro, before arriving at SMU, and never spending more than six seasons in any one location.
That's not to completely discount Brown's comments. Where there's smoke, there's fire, and the Time Warner Center has been ablaze with the Bobcats' putrid play ever since Brown was justifiably pushed out of town.
But ripping on Jordan's team isn't and shouldn't come as any shock to anyone these days. When you're the greatest basketball player who ever lived and you own the worst team to ever play the game, dysfunction and criticism are more the rule than the exception.
Luckily for the rest of the NBA, the Bobcats' bumbling will fade into the background once the excitement of the playoffs takes hold this weekend.
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