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Barkley Critical of Michael Jordan in Radio Interview

As great as Michael Jordan was on the court, he has been equally bad in the front office. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

Charles Barkley’s candor is the biggest reason he has had a tremendous broadcasting career after he retired from the NBA in 2000.  Barkley is one of those rare personalities who has a ton of friends yet is highly critical at times.  Barkley’s great sense of humor allows him to take more jabs than most.

Sir Charles’s latest target was none other than the infallible Michael Jordan.  Appearing on the “Waddle and Silvy” show on ESPN Chicago, Barkley was asked about MJ’s struggles as an executive and owner in the NBA.

Barkley speculated that MJ has surrounded himself with too many ‘yes men.’  Sir Charles then went into a long diatribe about how when you’re famous people rarely disagree with you because you pay their bills.  I highly doubt that there are any executives in the Bobcats’ front office who depend on MJ for their mortgage payment, but Charles makes a great point about yes men.

Barkley then relayed this anecdote to Waddle and Silvy about the 2006 NBA draft, one in which the Bobcats held the third pick.

“I said ‘Michael, I think you should take Brandon Roy, and he said ‘We like Adam Morrison,’ ” Barkley said. “I said ‘Adam Morrison can’t play. I said let me ask you a question, did you say Adam Morrison first and [the Bobcats front office staff] agreed with you or did they say Adam Morrison first? He said ‘What do you mean?’ I said ‘Michael, nobody wants to disagree with you. You are such a powerful personality nobody, especially your flunkies as I call them, the flunkies are never going to disagree with you.’ Adam Morrison is a nice kid. He can’t play in the NBA.”

Barkley told the hosts point blank that Jordan hasn’t done a good job in the front office.

“I love Michael, but he just has not done a good job.”  “Even though he is one of my great friends, I can’t get on here and tell you he’s done a great job. He has not done a great job, plain and simple.”

As great as Jordan was as a player, he has been an equal failure in the front office.  I actually give him a pass on the Kwame Brown pick in 2001.  He was considered a can’t miss prospect because of his size and athleticism.  Perhaps there were some red flags concerning his work ethic, but hindsight is always 20/20.

With Jordan as owner, the Bobcats have been a disaster.  I understand that Charlotte is not the kind of market that makes free agents salivate, but you can still be competitive in small markets.  The Morrison pick was awful, Jordan fired the only coach that ever led Charlotte to the playoffs, Larry Brown, and traded their only all-star, Gerald Wallace, to Portland for two first round draft picks.

It’s not exactly like Jordan is building a good young team like Philadelphia or Indiana.  The Bobcats feature one of the worst rosters in NBA history, and have the leagues’ worst record at 4-29.

I applaud Sir Charles for having the guts to criticize MJ publicly.  The bottom line is that he is a terrible executive, but seems to get a free pass because he is so revered for everything he did on the court.




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