In a recent interview for NBA.com, Ben Gordon reflected on his time in Charlotte. As Gordon spoke, tiny violins could be heard playing in the background. Gordon was asked about his time in Charlotte, and unsurprisingly didn't reflect positively on the experience:
``(The struggles in Charlotte) bothered me a lot while I was there. Obviously, I was happy to be out of that situation,’’ Gordon said. ``It’s behind me now. It’s just one of those things that happens and you try to learn from it and I’m just moving on.’’
It's no secret Ben Gordon did not enjoy his two seasons with Charlotte. In year one, he was involved in an altercation with former head coach Mike Dunlap after he refused to stop bouncing a ball or give it to Dunlap, eventually tossing the ball towards a ball rack. Last season, Gordon stayed out of trouble but only appeared in 19 games, averaging 5.2 points per game on 34.3 percent shooting before being waived by the team in March.
Despite two sup-par seasons, the Magic signed him to a two-year, $9 million contract this summer. The second year is un-guaranteed, but the move was a surprise given how poorly Gordon had played recently.
When asked about being coached by third-year head coach and former NBA guard Jacque Vaughn, Gordon indicated a preference to play for former NBA players:
``I think it’s always great playing for a coach that’s played the game,’’ Gordon said. ``I played for guys like Scott Skiles and Vinny Del Negro (with the Chicago Bulls) and I had some of my best seasons with them. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence or if it’s them knowing the game and understanding the (shooting guard) position. Maybe that made it easier for me. Hopefully I have the same success here with Jacque.’’
There you have it -- Ben Gordon's struggles are not because he rarely played defense or shot wild, running, side-line floaters, but rather because he wasn't coached by a former player who understood the shooting guard position. If only Charlotte had known, they could've brought Sam Vincent back. Gordon went on to say that, "I think it's a huge year for me," which is true, because if he doesn't contribute he will likely be out of the league next season.
Ben Gordon represents a piece of Charlotte basketball past fans would like to forget. While there were many players whose basketball inadequacies will never be fully forgotten, most of them came and went with little fuss. Gordon on the other hand, rarely played well and never seemed happy, and made that apparent more than once. If he turns things around in Orlando, good for him, but like Gordon, many here in Charlotte are happy he has moved on as well.