May 08, 2003

Jordan Fired By Wizards!: MJ was shown the door yesterday by the Wizards. Are they some ungrateful bastards? Or did Jordan do more harm then good, and deserve to be fired?

posted by jbou to basketball at 03:27 AM - 16 comments

Last heard by Jordan: "You cannot do this to me, I'm Jordan!" No word yet about his Nike contract.

posted by jasonspaceman at 06:43 AM on May 08, 2003

The earlier story from the Times provides more insight into why Jordan was fired. He had completely lost the support of the players by mixing his on-court role with his off-court ability to can their asses. Some said that they were told they had to pass to him more to keep getting playing time, and when one player angrily told him he wasn't going to be a "Jordannaire" in games, he was traded. For me, the most telling detail was that players were asked at the end of the year if they wanted to pool money and buy Jordan a retirement gift. They collectively decided against it.

posted by rcade at 09:56 AM on May 08, 2003

I've never understood why Jordan's on-court genius was supposed to extend to team management. He's done a piss poor job as director of Wizards personnel--although you'd be forgiven for not noticing it here in DC, where Wilbon and Kornheiser can barely tear their lips off Jordan's ass long enough to write columns. (On the bright side, this at least prevents them from writing about hockey.)

posted by Mookieproof at 10:08 AM on May 08, 2003

Excellent point, Mookie many of the greats of any sports have not translated well to the ranks of coaching/management. Frank Robinson and Ted Williams are two examples that leap to mind. Any rationale for this yes?

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:22 AM on May 08, 2003

Here's a telling excerpt: Pollin told Jordan, "As a gentleman, I appreciate everything you did," a participant in the meeting said. "You're great. You've made a terrific contribution to the franchise. But I want to go in another direction in terms of direction and leadership." Pollin then said he would reward Jordan financially for his contributions when Jordan interrupted him, the participant in the meeting said. "That's not what I was looking for," Jordan said, according to the participant. "I didn't do this for the money. I thought I was going to take over the franchise eventually." For all Jordan could do on and off the court, he wasn't able to make himself Abe Pollin's offspring. Something tells me Michael will land on his feet. Didn't Krause just resign in Chicago?

posted by vito90 at 11:43 AM on May 08, 2003

It seems MJ may have forgotten how long and hard the road is to working your way into championship form, and how the same process applies to the duties of the back office suit. Thinking and acting like it's his franchise is a bit premature. His ego is large, and rightly so to some extent, but this incident screams meglomania. Great Player. Carefully constructed and protected, though tarnished, public Image. Not so great Exec.

posted by garfield at 11:56 AM on May 08, 2003

I dont know why it is, but usually great athletes dont translate into great management. There are a few exceptions of course. Larry Bird did well with Indiana as is Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars is doing an amazing job as the Pistions GM. All three will be hall of fame members. Jordan was fired because he did an awful job. The mess they are in now is all his doing. And he ran the team, while living mostly in Chicago. Not to mention he has ben talking to other teams for ownership chances. So its no shock he got canned.

posted by Fluxcore at 11:58 AM on May 08, 2003

I was surprised to hear that he was fired, and also somewhat suspiscious, since we'd been hearing all week that he was thinking about joining the Charlotte franchise. Part of me thought that they called it a dismissal when it wasn't, maybe so the Wiz could save face. This was a bit of, of course, but in thinking beyond that, I do think that Jordan really hasn't helped the franchise at all and deserved to go. And, in hindsight, do you think this makes his comeback seem like less of a good thing? I never liked it in the first place, but now it's even worse... he went from retiring on top, hitting his last shot, going out a champ, etc, then came back to mismanage and alienate players on a bad team, and ultimately get fired. Not quite a grand exit...

posted by Bernreuther at 12:00 PM on May 08, 2003

Why is it natural to think that just because someone is good at one thing (throwing a ball through a hoop, let's say), that that someone is now qualified to do any other activity, esp. those that move increasingly outside their sphere of expertise, including: - another sport - act - rap/sing - manage a company - gambling (hooooo ...) Aside from spokesman and branding opportunities (and this wanes over time, as opposed to one's management skills), I don't see how this is anything but False Attribution Error! Jordan sounds like a whining entitled baby. As omnipotent as he was in his playing days, he's shown that he's missing the grace and wisdom that would have led him to leave at the height of his powers, rather than degrade his reputation in such pathetic ways.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:40 PM on May 08, 2003

Ralph Wiley's fantastic article about the parallel between this and Babe Ruth's career, which is something I actually thought about 2 years ago when he came back... and comes complete with a suggestion about what to do next. Fluxcore, while I'll admit that the Boston Sports Guy might be slightly biased, by many accounts Isiah Thomas is actually a very bad coach, making poor decisions and lacking some guts and passion. However, any coach that can handle a distraction like Ron Artest deserves at least some respect. And wfrazer, isn't Frank Robinson an excellent manager now? Perhaps not the best disciplinarian, but a great manager. Tony Pena as well... It seems that in baseball players succeed in coaching much more often. In fact, it's hard for a non player to get the players' respect. I wonder if there's a reason for that. All sports have ex players as coaches, and I'd venture to say that 100% of coaches have SOME playing experience, but it seems that baseball has a lot more who actually played at the TOP level. Of course the point was about superstars coaching, and I guess a lot of the managers in baseball weren't exactly stars, though I had heard of guys like Torre, Baker, Baylor, Boone, Pinella, etc as players before they started managing...

posted by Bernreuther at 01:10 PM on May 08, 2003

Well, when you're a star like Jordan, I guess "coach" is just too much beneath you. I mean, how could anyone put up with having to answer to a GM, owner, board of directors, CFO? C'mon, you're a star and you deserve to just walk in and OWN the feckin' franchise! I compare that with Phil Jackson. Not so much a star player (but still top-level?), yet definitely a star coach. And he's done it regardless of the team he's managed.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:18 PM on May 08, 2003

"And wfrazer, isn't Frank Robinson an excellent manager now? Perhaps not the best disciplinarian, but a great manager." I wouldn't say he's a great manager. His career record is 763-830 entering this season, which gives him a .479 winning percentage. He hasn't always been blessed with good talent, and he did win AL Manager of the Year in 1989, but other than that? Not much success. I think the Expos this year are more affected by their talent level (good/great pitching does wonders) and their desire to stick it to the baseball establishment for the treatment they've received, i.e. the "Shove It Up Carl Pohlad's Ass" factor. I would take exception with lumping Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars in as great anythings already also. These guys really haven't done jack-squat yet. Thomas has a record of 179-149 in the regular season, and just 7-15 in the postseason. Dumars is also too new to be making judgement calls, although I like what he's done. I think most of the guys who succeed in coaching, at least in baseball, are players who are forced to rely not on raw talent, but on their ability to outthink and outwile their opponents. This whole list named in an earlier post (Torre, Baker, Baylor, Boone, Pinella), those aren't guys that you think, "Wow, were they physically gifted players or what?" You remember them as gritty, hard-nosed bastards who gave the game their all. Lump in baseball lifers who struggled mightily as players (LaRussa, Showalter), and it gives you my theory: The more gifted the athlete naturally, the less likely they will be able to pass on their knowledge of the game. There are a couple possible reasons for this: 1) As natural athletes, they didn't have to work as hard to master the fundamentals of the game. Think Beethoven would have been a good piano teacher? If you're really a prodigy, how do you know how to motivate and move along the progress of those less gifted than you? Without that basis, how can you teach everything else? 2) They never were coached as hard as others. I don't think Barry Bonds spends a lot of time listening to instructors. I would think this lack of exposure to coaching techniques would make it more difficult for him to employ those same methods down the road. Am I full of shit?

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:01 PM on May 08, 2003

well you're probably full of shit ;) but your theory sounds excellent. And as that exact type of hockey player, that gives me a vote of added confidence in my coaching abilities, once I settle into a locale that I can be sure I'll live in for a while.... makes perfect sense though. A middle of the road player who had to work hard and be highly motivated will be better equipped to be able to use the techniques used on himself to teach that type of player now.

posted by Bernreuther at 02:12 PM on May 08, 2003

wow, what terrible sentence structure I have!

posted by Bernreuther at 02:12 PM on May 08, 2003

wfrazerjr, you nailed it, though I'm not sure how coaching skills and GM skills equate. Coaching requires one to get the best out of the team's available assets. A GM acquires and maintains those assets.

posted by garfield at 02:44 PM on May 08, 2003

It seems that in baseball players succeed in coaching much more often. The NBA, to my view, is on the whole a league with a culture that stresses individuality rather than teamwork, which calls for a different management style than in other sports. (The very nature of the game allows this individuality--Iverson really can throw up a shot every time down the floor, but you can't do that in, say, soccer or hockey.) Every coach has to keep his stars happy, but I think in the NBA you really have to. And few star athletes (in any sport) have the mindset or attitude to manage this way. Am I full of shit?

posted by Mookieproof at 03:37 PM on May 08, 2003

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