Michael Jordan's good friend and fellow Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has a theory as to why the Chicago Bulls legend has largely failed as an NBA executive, and it has to do with the people around him, including those in the Charlotte Bobcats' front office.
"I think the biggest problem has been I don't know if he has hired enough people around him who he will listen to," Barkley said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "One thing about being famous is the people around you, you pay all their bills so they very rarely disagree with you because they want you to pick up the check. They want to fly around on your private jet so they never disagree with you. I don't think Michael has hired enough people around him who will disagree."
"I love Michael, but he just has not done a good job," Barkley said. "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."
Jordan's Bobcats have the NBA's worst record at 4-29 and have lost 19 of their last 20 games. Jordan fired coach Larry Brown early last season with the Bobcats coming off their first and only playoff berth and purged payroll when he traded one-time All-Star Gerald Wallace for two first-round picks and let point guard Raymond Felton leave in free agency.
Jordan became part owner of the Bobcats in 2006, taking the final say on all basketball decisions away from then-coach and general manager Bernie Bickerstaff. He hired former Bulls teammate Rod Higgins as general manager in 2007 and then promoted him to president of basketball operations when Rick Cho was hired as GM in June.
But basketball decisions still ultimately fall on the desk of Jordan, who has struggled as a talent evaluator in the draft. As president of the Washington Wizards, Jordan took Kwame Brown with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2001 draft. He amounted to little more than a role player in the NBA.
When Jordan told him the Bobcats were eyeing Gonzaga star Adam Morrison with the third overall pick of the 2006 draft, Barkley said he questioned his friend on the decision.
"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."
Morrison started just 28 NBA games and is now playing overseas.