Skip to main content

The NBA's best owns the NBA's worst

By Lateef Mungin, CNN
April 27, 2012 -- Updated 1953 GMT (0353 HKT)
Basketball legend Michael Jordan, left, is the owner of Charlotte Bobcats, now the worst team in NBA history.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan, left, is the owner of Charlotte Bobcats, now the worst team in NBA history.
  • The Charlotte Bobcats ended the season with a 7-59 record
  • That record is the worst in NBA history
  • "I've come to accept I'll be scrutinized more than any other owner," Jordan tells a newspaper

(CNN) -- Watching the Charlotte Bobcats stumble around the court this year may make the casual fan wonder who is running this beleaguered organization.

Ah ... er, it's Michael Jordan. MJ. His Airness.

After Thursday's 104-84 loss to the New York Knicks, Jordan is now the owner of the worst team in NBA history. It's a feat that may look strange next to all the trophies Jordan garnered in his playing career.

With the loss, the Bobcats end this season with a record of 7-59, finishing with an all-time worst .106 winning percentage.

They take the infamous title from the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers who were 9-73 and had a then record-worst .110 winning percentage.

The dubious distinction has some wondering how the man, widely thought of as the best basketball player of all time, could lead such a lousy team.

Adding to the irony, Jordan was the leader of a Chicago Bulls team back in the 90s that is the winningest team in NBA history, scoring a 72-10 record.

As the Bobcats neared the record this week, Jordan received a chorus of criticism.

Legendary coach Larry Brown, who coached the Bobcats for three seasons under Jordan, joined the chorus saying Jordan has surrounded himself with "yes men" who are hesitant to challenge him.

"He needs more people around him who he has respect for who are not afraid to tell him what's right. That's the one thing I'm disappointed in," Brown said on a radio interview on 'The Dan Patrick Show.'

Jordan, who fired Brown as the Bobcats coach in 2010, vehemently disagreed with that criticism in an interview Wednesday with the Charlotte Observer.

Jordan also acknowledged that his six championships and five Most Valuable Player awards, numerous scoring titles and many other accomplishments as a player adds to the scrutiny he gets as an owner.

"My success will be judged differently ... I've come to accept I'll be scrutinized more than any other owner,'' Jordan said. "I know now that I have to have a tough skin about these things.''

Jordan said he had planned to rebuild the team and knew that it could be a tough season. But he conceded that he never thought it would be this bad.

"This year the talent we had didn't respond, but that doesn't cause me to turn my back on the plan," Jordan told the Charlotte Observer.

There were several issues that plagued the Bobcats this year. The team was hammered by injuries including the teams' best player Corey Maggette, who missed half of the season. Also the Bobcats were forced to play rookies Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo without much practice time because of the lockout-shortened season.

SI: Former champ Walker looks ahead

"It is the perfect storm," said Mike Solarte, sports director of CNN affiliate News 14 Carolina. "It has been a challenge watching the Bobcats night in and night out. There has been very few highs and a lot of lows all season long."

But there is an upside to all the losses. The record guarantees that the Bobcats will have the greatest chance of getting the first pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

And this year's draft features big man Anthony Davis, who is leaving Kentucky and is thought of being able to single-handedly change the fortune of any team that gets him.

But some fans have run out of patience after watching the Bobcats end the season with a 23-game losing streak, Solarte said.

"They do have a plan," said Solarte. "That is what they said all along. But when you have only seven wins nobody wants to hear about the plan. They want to know why you are not winning games now."

Part of complete coverage on
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 1138 GMT (1938 HKT)
Click through our gallery of the most dramatic moments from the world of sport.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1606 GMT (0006 HKT)
Whisper it quietly, but after years of foreign domination the prospect of a French winner of the Tour de France is more than just a mere pipe dream.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Seven years ago Steve Way was a 20 per day smoker and weighed a hefty 104 kg, but he led the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2048 GMT (0448 HKT)
Inspirational cyclist Joanna Rowsell added another gold to her growing collection in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0404 GMT (1204 HKT)
At the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an actor upstaged the Queen by kissing a male dancer.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1636 GMT (0036 HKT)
Second-tier French side Clermont Foot appoint Helena Costa -- the country's first ever professional female coach of a male team.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1733 GMT (0133 HKT)
The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.