Kwame Brown and Michael Jordan: The 10 Worst Marriages in NBA History
In 2001, Michael Jordan, then the Washington Wizards' president of basketball operations, witnessed a workout of high school draft prospects Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, and Eddy Curry.
Jordan found himself wowed by Browns domination in one-on-one drills, so much so, in fact, that he made the 6'11" forward-center the first high school prospect to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick.
The rest is history.
Brown has struggled throughout his NBA career, and during his time with Jordan, the two notoriously had a number of problems.
Furthermore, his selection is one of the main reasons for which Jordan was ultimately sent out of Washington.
However, Jordan, now the majority owner and the managing member of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats, has decided to reunite with Brown, signing the 270-pounder to a one-year, $1.3 million deal on August 23, 2010.
On the signing, Brown declared, "We're always going to be linked. I might as well come here, right?"
Well, contrary to Brown's idea of this being a second chance to impress MJ, many expect him to continue to perform at a low level—which will only lead to more conflict between Brown and the all-time great.
So, therefore, it appears that this will, once again, be a failed marriage between Brown and Jordan.
But, throughout NBA history, there have certainly been worse duos, as both men have been able to continue to hold NBA employment.
So, keeping that in mind, here are the 10 worst failed marriages in NBA history.
No. 10: Martynas Andriuškevičius and the NBA
I know, you may be thinking, "Who in the world is Martynas Andriuškevičius?"
Well Andriuškevičius is a 24 year old basketball player, currently serving as a member of the Lithuanian National Team in the 2010 FIBA World Championships.
Furthermore, the 7'2", 240 pound center was a 2005 second round pick of the Orlando Magic.
However, he never made much of a splash in the NBA, moving from the Magic to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and then to the Chicago Bulls.
When he was only 20 years of age, Andriuškevičius was sent down to play in the D-League for the Dakota Wizards, and that is where his story gets tragic.
During a routine practice, he was sucker-punched by his teammate Awvee Storey, knocking him unconscious and causing him to land directly on his head.
As a result of this incident, Andriuškevičius suffered a skull fracture, a severe concussion, and a bruise on the side of his brain, causing him to lose the ability to speak for a substantial period of time.
Nevertheless, he eventually recovered, but he then decided that he ought to return to Europe.
So, after being traded twice and attacked to the point where he could no longer speak for a while, all over a two year period, the failed marriage between Andriuškevičius and the NBA is one of the worst of all time.
No. 9: Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury
Kevin Garnett was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves fifth overall in 1995. In a draft day trade the next year, they acquired Stephon Marbury, the fourth overall pick in '96, for Ray Allen and a future first round pick.
Together, these two were one of the most promising young duos in the league, carrying the T-wolves to the playoffs twice during their first two years together—which also happened to be the franchise's first two playoff appearances.
Minnesota then re-signed KG to a massive six-year, maximum level contract, but also cleared space so that they would be able to lock down Marbury the next year as well.
However, Steph grew jealous of Garnett's massive contract and star-power. He insisted that he be the face of his franchise, and, as a result, he demanded a trade, which was eventually granted to him.
Marbury was sent to the New Jersey Nets, but neither Garnett with Minnesota nor Marbury with NJ enjoyed nearly the levels of success which they had the potential to achieve together.
Therefore, the messy (and seemingly needless) divorce is what ruined this marriage, making it one of the great what-ifs in NBA history.
No. 8: James Dolan and the New York Knicks
Since 1999, when James Dolan, the Chairman of Madison Square Garden, Inc., acquired a controlling interest in Cablevision, and subsequently the New York Knicks franchise, the team has become one of the laughing stocks of the league.
Dolan has had a horrendous career so far, hiring individuals such as Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas to make the team's personnel decisions, and then he has held onto them long after they ought to have been let go.
This has ultimately resulted in the team granting players massive, undeserved contracts (Allan Houston, Jerome James), trading for crippling contracts (Shandon Anderson, Howard Eisley), and dealing first round picks for marginal talent (Antonio McDyess, Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry).
And when it seemed that he had finally turned around his horrible line of decision making by hiring Donnie Walsh, Dolan attempted to bring Isiah Thomas back into the organization as a consultant (although the move would not be allowed by the NBA since Thomas is an NCAA basketball coach).
Consequently, Dolan is regarded as one of the worst owners in the league, as evidenced by his second place ranking in a 2009 Sports Illustrated list of the NBA's worst owners.
No. 7: Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton
During the 2010 NBA season, Washington Wizards guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton became involved in a gambling dispute over a debt from card games played on team flights.
As a result of this conflict, the two players brought guns into the Verizon Center locker room, and may have even pulled them out on one another.
Consequently, both were suspended for the remainder of the regular season and were forced to face legal charges.
Additionally, Crittenton was not re-signed by the Wizards, and is not currently on an NBA roster. Therefore, as a result of this incident, he may be out of the NBA for good.
So with players allegedly brandishing pistols at one another, and a promising 22 year old now possibly finished with his career, this is certainly one of the worst marriages in NBA history.
No. 6: John Amaechi and Jerry Sloan
In 2007, John Amaechi officially came out as the first ever openly gay NBA player, making him one of the few male professional athletes ever to do so (albeit it was after his retirement).
In his book, Man in the Middle, Amaechi revealed that some of his toughest times in the league were with the Utah Jazz, under Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan.
Sloan is renowned as the hard-nosed coach of a team in a conservative region. Tolerance, however, is not something for which he is known.
The two had various altercations throughout Amaechi's tenure with the Jazz, and according to Amaechi, they often had to do with his lifestyle and indications toward his then-unrevealed sexuality.
And, as would be expected from such a strained relationship, it ended badly, as Amaechi was sent packing. Furthermore, he would allege that Jazz front office employees informed him that the reason for his dismissal from the team was because Sloan did not approve of his lifestyle, although Sloan has denied this.
Had Amaechi been openly gay at this time, this could have potentially been one of the most high profile discrimination cases in recent memory, however, it wasn't, so instead it can settle on being one of the worst marriages in NBA history.
No. 5: Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood
Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood must have really felt strongly about sharing the Wizards center role with one another.
After all, the duo got in three fights during the course of only two years, with Haywood even ripping out a few of Thomas' dreadlocks in one altercation.
As Haywood stated, "Ali and Frazier only fought three times."
And there's no question as to how those two felt about one another.
Ultimately, though, Thomas was traded by Washington, and Haywood expressed his joy at this move, stating how he would miss the other traded players and making a point to not mention Thomas.
When teammates get in a fight, it's not usually too much of a problem. When they fight constantly, however, there is certainly an issue worthy of being one of the worst marriages in NBA history.
No 4: Stephon Marbury and the New York Knicks
In 2004, The New York Knicks traded five players and two first round draft picks to acquire Stephon Marbury, thinking that bringing the All-Star native New Yorker home would turn around the franchise.
However, his tenure with the Knicks could best be described as toxic.
During his first year with the team, he publicly clashed with new head coach Larry Brown. Furthermore, the team finished 23-59, one of their worst records ever. These two problems, for which Marbury was largely responsible, factored heavily into the buyout of Brown's contract.
The next season Isiah Thomas, the team's president, took on the role of head coach.
Marbury also found a way to feud with Thomas, ultimately abandoning the team when he was to be benched and threatening to blackmail Thomas.
After Thomas was fired, Marbury fought with his third coach, Mike D'Antoni. He reportedly turned down an offer of limited playing time and was ordered to stay away from the team.
Soon thereafter, Marbury had his contract bought out and he signed with the Boston Celtics for the remained of the 2008-09 season.
He was not played in the NBA since then, and is now part of the Chinese Basketball Association.
And one has to wonder: If it were not for his horrendous marriage with the Knicks, would Marbury still be playing in the NBA today?
No. 3: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers
I was hesitant to put LeBron James so high on this list since, after all, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been in contention with him for years and they even made the Finals once.
However, they never did win it all, and LeBron's antics this summer were just so crushing for Cleveland fans that he must be included.
First he refuses to discuss what he is thinking, with regard to his free agency, leading up to the summer. Then he holds widely publicized meetings with numerous potential suitors.
Additionally, when he finally announces his decision to sign with the Miami Heat, he does it on an hour-long ESPN special, making Cleveland fans wait until the last moment to have their hearts broken on live television.
And that's not even all! Afterward, he publicly feuded with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, he took out a page in a newspaper thanking Akron—not mentioning Cleveland—and he even stated in an interview how he doesn't owe Cleveland anything.
Furthermore, the future may be the most painful for the Cavs faithful, who will be forced to watch LeBron succeed for years to come in Miami.
Now that messy breakup surely makes the LeBron-Cleveland marriage one of the worst in NBA history.
No. 2: Donald Sterling and Elgin Baylor
The marriage between Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and their former general manager Elgin Baylor, at 21 seasons, is by far the longest on this list.
Sterling was notoriously cheap, which effectively tied Baylor's hands and resulted in the Clippers going 619-1153 under their watch, floundering as one of the NBA's worst franchises for decades.
But, that's not enough to make this one of the worst marriages in NBA history.
One must then consider what has occurred since Baylor's termination.
After Sterling canned Baylor, Baylor filed a civil lawsuit against the Clippers, alleging that Sterling utilized a "vision of a Southern plantation-type structure" for the franchise.
Therefore, when their inability to succeed is coupled with the pending lawsuit, an all-time worst NBA marriage is a certainty.
No. 1: Latrell Sprewell and P.J. Carlesimo
In the mid-1990s, Latrell Sprewell was a three-time All-Star and one-time All-Star Game MVP with the Golden State Warriors.
However, the most notable aspect of his tenure was his relationship with head coach P.J. Carlesimo.
At first, the two men had gotten into arguments about taking the game seriously and playing time—nothing too severe.
But things came to a head during a December 1997 practice.
Carlesimo wasn't pleased with Sprewell's play and let him know about it. Sprewell then responded by telling his coach that it was the wrong day to mess with him.
Carlesimo approached his player, and Sprewell responded by threatening to kill Carlesimo and choking him for 10-15 seconds, until he was restrained. Spree then left practice, only to return in 20 minutes and land a glancing punch on his coach.
Sprewell never played another game for the Warriors, as he was suspended for the rest of 1997-98 and later traded to the New York Knicks.
Therefore, this unprecedented act of player-coach violence, along with the fact that Sprewell and Carlesimo have become forever synonymous with the incident, helps to establish their relationship as the worst marriage in NBA history.
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