Hey Jeff McInnis, come on down!
First we had Sam Vincent and now with Larry Brown's latest rant on the Dan Patrick Show, so apparently it's open season! Michael Jordan wants to go to a hockey game instead of traveling with the team to see them play the Wizards in Washington? HOW DARE HE, screams the talking heads.
Maybe people view me as a Michael Jordan apologist. I don't care. I think he's scrutinized at an unusual level compared to most professional team owners. I understand the complaints and have seen them too. Judging talent, the people he surrounds himself and the front office with, whatever. They certainly haven't been a secret.
What is a secret, I guess, is that things have been changing and I'm sick of the ignorance.
Let's first trot out Larry Brown's words. Brown is the misanthrope that is a huge reason the Bobcats are in the position they're in now. So are the Bobcats management, but right now they're dealing with problems that they and Brown made jointly.
"When your hero fires you . . . I just couldn't believe it . . . I love the guy. I think he's brilliant, but I think he's around people who don't have a clue."
First thought: Jordan is Brown's hero? I always thought it was something intangible, like venom, or spite or harrumphing.
Second thought: How could he not believe it? He flatly felt that he wasn't set up for success and decided to tell his top players that he basically was giving up before the season began. Where is the talk about how he helped engender the long-term problems the Bobcats were attempting to fix?
Brown calls the executives Michael surrounds himself with like "spies," calling them incompetent and essentially 'yes men.' It's not an unfair criticism. MJ's brother works there, Rod Higgins has been around him forever, Larry Brown was good friends with him, for crying out loud.
The main problem I have with Brown's testimony is that he willingly ignores that the people there when he was coach were the ones saying yes to him. Brown is compulsively yearning for what we have come to know as "Larry Brown players," ie. defensive-minded versatile guys. The only issue is that these guys are often short in supply and the ones he wanted were overpaid. Then they had to fill the holes, like at center. So hello Gana Diop.
So Larry Brown, I used to like you but that was an error. Your willing ignorance of your own influence on the Bobcats' current position is facepalm-worthy.
This touches on something more I'm sick of. I am fine with scrutinizing him on personnel moves. It's passé, but by all means, people will write what they want to write.
But people think Jordan's mind is set in stone. The apparent not-so-secret secret? It's not.
Curtis Polk is a name in the Time Warning Cable Arena that few know, but he's more powerful than most. He's the guy who Jordan respects most. He might say "No," he might say "Yes." He's made errors in advice to Jordan and he's had success. Regardless, he is not a yes man, and he's far from it.
Then there's Rich Cho. To call Cho a yes man would be as accurate as calling Jordan unmotivated. Cho is "about as direct and candid a person as you'll ever meet," as Jordan put it in comments made to the Charlotte Observer. It's possibly what makes him the most dynamic front office signing in years. He's a cunningly smart mind with building assets and minding the salary cap. And for him to resign to Jordan's whims is simply asinine.
The decision process in the Bobcats organization is constantly questioned and mysterious. If you ask anyone who marginally knows about the team, they'll think they're experts. They'll say Jordan is the GM and makes all the decisions regardless of his coach, his actual GM and everyone else involved directly in the process. In actuality, it's a complex group process that takes into consideration the top minds, not just Jordan's.
Jordan's not perfect, he may not be close. But over-scrutinizing him on things that a) are insignificant, like going to a Chicago Blackhawks game and b) that are not unchanging and are in-fact, changing, believe it or not.
Has Jordan's impact on the team been overwhelmingly positive? Of course not. Dislike him if you want, but sake's alive, it's time people stop holding him to a standard they aren't willing to hold to anyone else because he's so easily derided.