Jordan’s track record with Washington Wizards
Although Barkley was specifically referring to Jordan’s era with the Charlotte Hornets’ franchise, his ineptitude also traces back to his days running the Washington Wizards.
There’s a reason why he came out of retirement to play for the Wizards, and there’s a reason why the team he joined wasn’t able to even reach .500 in either year. Jordan ran the Wizards’ front office from January of 2000 through September of 2001, which is roughly two years.
It goes without saying that two years is certainly long enough to make improvements to a team, especially when one of those years involves having the first overall draft pick, which the Wizards had in the 2001 NBA Draft. In a draft class that featured future All-Stars Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, and Joe Johnson all get selected within the first ten picks, Jordan decided to draft Kwame Brown, who is regarded as arguably the biggest draft bust in NBA history.
Brown has career averages of 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds and never averaged double-digits in the rebounding column throughout his 12 years in the league. Brown also averaged double-digits in scoring in just one season, which is certainly not what you’d expect from a number one pick in the draft. In fact, the Wizards didn’t even bother to bring Brown back after his contract expired, despite the fact that he could’ve been signed at a cheap price due to his dismal play. This is further proof of how bad the Wizards realized they messed up their 2001 draft.
Although Jordan may not necessarily have liked being criticized for his poor decision-making skills as an executive, the reality is he deserved the criticism he received from Barkley. He’s made poor decision after poor decision during his time in both Charlotte and Washington, with the lone exception of drafting Kemba Walker. And Walker bailed in free agency this past offseason, which was a wise move considering how Jordan couldn’t assemble a formidable surrounding cast around him.
For as great of a player as Jordan was, it would seem like he would want someone being a straight shooter and holding him accountable as an executive, which is why it’s surprising to see how he’s handled the situation with former Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley. But even beyond that, choosing to essentially ex-communicate someone who was correct in stating that Jordan had done a poor job as a GM/owner is beyond petty, and also excessive.
If Jordan really viewed Barkley as a brother then he should’ve held Barkley’s commentary with a heightened level of respect and been appreciative of the feedback and criticism, as we know Jordan isn’t hearing that from anyone else. One thing we know about family and brotherhood is that you’ll have your fights and clashes, but at the end of the day that’s still your brother after the fact.
It should never have gotten to the point where Jordan isn’t talking to Barkley, because that’s simply not what brothers do. And who holds an eight-year grudge anyways?