As Michael Jordan knows better than anyone from his legendary playing days, one good season does not a reputation make.
Respect and credibility are built over time, with one’s career a compilation of the good, the bad and — as had been the case in Jordan’s post-playing life as an owner and executive — the ugly.
But nearly 15 years after his management-ownership career began with the Washington Wizards, has Jordan finally become an effective boss? It’s certainly starting to seem that way.
This goes beyond his then-Charlotte Bobcats’ April playoff appearance and their emergence as one of the best defensive teams, ranked fourth in the league in average points allowed, though those achievements surpassed anything that unfolded in Jordan’s ill-fated Wizards tenure. Recall his ill-fated decision to make Kwame Brown the first high school player to be taken first overall in the NBA when he was drafted by the Wizards in 2001.
Power in the name
The decision to hire general manager Rich Cho in June 2011 has proved prudent. And Cho’s sphere of influence grew over the summer when longtime Jordan friend Rod Higgins left the organization after Jordan had redefined his role, giving Cho more personnel power. The May 2013 hiring of coach Steve Clifford has paid big dividends, too, including his effective partnership with former New York Knicks great Patrick Ewing. Both previously were assistants with the Orlando Magic.
Clifford, who signed a three-year, $6 million deal with a team option for 2015-16, raves about his experience with Jordan.
“From the time I’ve been here, I think he’s been motivated and aggressive to make our team better,” Clifford tells USA TODAY Sports. “And then aside from that … he’s valuable to me because he watches every game. … He gives me good feedback on what he sees, and he’s not afraid to tell me when there are things that he thinks we could be doing better or I could be doing better. But he’s also extremely supportive.”