People have long criticized Michael Jordan as a basketball executive. (I have not been immune myself: "A decade into his time running NBA front offices," I wrote the other day, "he still hasn't had any significant success. Maligned for picking Kwame Brown first overall for the Wizards in 2001, he was then fired for his part in an underperforming Wizards front office, and laughed at again in Charlotte for picking Adam Morrison with the third pick in the 2006 draft.")
It's almost accepted as fact that he has not been good.
And yet, in a talk with the Bobcats' official website, Jordan makes some real headway in countering that argument:
When I first got to Washington, people didn’t understand the financial position that team was facing. In Washington we put together a five year plan that included clearing huge salaries off the books to create cap flexibility, and building a roster that would become a playoff contender. In just three years, we went from almost $22 million over the cap to more than $8 million under, and traded veterans with big contracts for young talent. In year five, with a roster made up mostly of guys we brought in, they made the playoffs.
In Charlotte, I think with the trades we've made here and the hiring of a Hall of Fame coach, we're ahead of the curve and we're right there in playoff contention. In three years here, we went from being a losing team to being on the verge of making the playoffs.
In the same talk, Jordan also goes well out of his way to make clear that Larry Brown is at the center of what he likes about the team, and the team's future plans. If you hear rumors of Brown going elsewhere, it's very hard to believe those would be born of Jordan not wanting Brown leading the team.
He also says that, while there's nothing happening right now, in the long-term he may consider changing the name of the team.