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April 25, 2012

Larry Brown rips Michael Jordan and Charlotte Bobcats

591-1otDiJ.St.156I guess after more than a year out of work, Larry Brown built up a lot of venom.

I understand how unfiltered Brown can be from the 2 ½ seasons I covered him coaching the Charlotte Bobcats. But I was still taken aback this morning by how emphatically he ripped his former boss, Michael Jordan, and his former coworkers in Charlotte.

Brown is back at work as coach at Southern Methodist. He went on the Dan Patrick Show
Wednesday morning and of course was asked about the Bobcats’ plight. Among Brown’s comments regarding Bobcats owner Jordan and the organization that fired him in December of 2010:

“He’s around people who don’t have a clue.’’

“He had people around me that made me sick.’’

“It was almost like they were spies wondering what we were doing and getting back to him.’’

“A coach, a GM and a president all have to be attached at the hip.’’

I haven’t spoken to Brown since he was fired, despite leaving more than a dozen messages
on his cell phone. He told then-Bobcats assistant coach Dave Hanners the night he was let go that he’d call me, then never did. So I can’t tell you much about his state of mind since Jordan fired him.

But it’s a safe bet Brown’s comments were directed toward president of basketball operations Rod Higgins, who was the buffer zone between Brown and Jordan. Brown was frustrated by a lot of things as coach, particularly the decision to trade Tyson Chandler for what amounted to salary-cap relief when they acquired Erick Dampier’s unguaranteed contract. Brown felt he was handed a team with no chance to compete his last season in Charlotte.

He told that directly to the two leaders of that team, Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson, in so unfiltered a way that Wallace and Jackson decided Brown had given up on the franchise (and by extension, them). That was the first step toward the Bobcats-Brown divorce three months later.

I have great respect for Brown and his basketball knowledge, but I feel sorry for Higgins in this. I can’t tell you how often, following practice, Mike Cranston (then the Charlotte sportswriter for Associated Press) and I would watch Brown take Higgins aside for the never-ending critiques of the team.

I found Higgins remarkably patient with Brown’s persona. I’m sure Larry saw it the opposite; as Higgins paying lip service to Brown’s concerns, while holding him at a distance from Jordan.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 25, 2012 at 11:06 AM | Permalink


I'm not sure who to really agree with. The Bobs are the worst team in NBA history, that'll be a fact very soon. They simply need 3 things to happen within the next 3 years: 1. Draft A. Davis. 2. Change the name from Bobcats to anything. 3. Win more games than you lose.

Posted by: Bubba Sparx | Apr 25, 2012 11:24:35 AM


This is an interview from 5 days ago in which LB says he loved working for Jordan and that Jordan letting him go was the biggest disappointment of his life. Larry can't make up his mind as usual.

Posted by: bronsyn | Apr 25, 2012 11:26:23 AM

Charles Barkley says the same things. The only way MJ will be successful as an owner is to not have "yes" men around him. That's for players who want to support 50 of their closest friends to tell them how great they are and to not challenge them. But this is management. This is a face of the city and the Bobcats will never be successful if no one steps up to challenge him.

The Pittsburgh Penguins do just fine with a former great as an owner who allows his GM to do his job.

Posted by: bdubb | Apr 25, 2012 11:50:11 AM

bdubb, If I was looking for a job I would not bad mouth my former boss at that time. And since he now has a job he can speak more freely and not worry about it.

Posted by: MiamiCanes | Apr 25, 2012 11:53:25 AM

It's a amazing. Two years ago we were celebrating the Bobcats first franchise playoff appearance and MJ (a North Carolina native and the GOAT) as the new owner. Now, he's become a disgrace as an owner. Here's another ripping from the Chicago Sun Times: http://www.suntimes.com/sports/telander/12115858-452/michael-jordans-lack-of-interest-in-his-bobcats-reflects-badly-on-himself-and-on-the.html

While I got annoyed by LB towards the end of his tenure, as did many others, what he's saying isn't exactly untrue.

Posted by: PantherDave | Apr 25, 2012 11:56:59 AM

The Tyson Chandler part I find interesting considering that I though Tyson was so desperate to get out of Charlotte that he was exaggerating injuries.

Posted by: Geraldmutumbo | Apr 25, 2012 11:58:31 AM

If we win the lottery come May 30th no one will care about how bad of a job Jordan has done.

If we don't it is going to get 50 times worse.

Posted by: Jason Warren | Apr 25, 2012 12:00:48 PM

Higgins is an absolute idiot, a leech who has used his friendship with MJ to hamper this team. I was glad to see Larry go, but he was CORRECT about the the "people around who don't have a clue" and the general nature of how they seemed to sky on him. This is what lackeys do...kiss up to the boss and tell him what he wants to hear, or spin things to their advantage. Higgin's signs his son to a valuable roster spot for which he was not worthy, then keeps him here for the full season even when we could have added much better talent that was waived by other teams. Terrence Williams? JJ Hickson? Both were available, both were picked up by other teams, and both have thrived in their new locations. But NOOOOO...we had to keep little Higgy on this squad so he could earn a nice check from daddy.

This is not the first time an article or quotes have come from people near MJ, indicating that he uses "yes men" versus having people in power who will challenge him. I'm sure Higgins is a nice guy, a great guy! But he's a horrible executive.

Posted by: Bassman | Apr 25, 2012 12:01:02 PM

Rick...I agree with Larry on this one. Yes, he has his "issues" but my gosh, why do you need Rich Cho AND Rod Higgins? That front office has always been dysfunctional. MJ complains about costs and has has two GMs on the payroll. Cho has a track record. What does Higgins do?

Posted by: drfritz | Apr 25, 2012 12:11:49 PM

WIth all due respect to Larry, all I can say is DJ over Lopez. That was his doing. If Raymond was the best kid he ever coached, then why pass on a true center for an undersized point guard? Don't get me wrong, I like DJ and think he is much better than he gets credit for, but Larry chose him over Brooke Lopez and then ruined his confidence.

Plus, Larry lasted about as long, or even longer, than he did in other places. Each time he left, he ended up blaming someone other than himself, but the players never seemed to be too upset over his departure.

Others share in the blame for this team having to bottom out and start over, but Larry's fingerprints are all over this crime scene too.

Posted by: Phillip | Apr 25, 2012 12:22:45 PM

How in the world does Higgins keep his job? Has he won any where? Did he do anything to improve this years team? He has his son on the team for crying out loud as other teams added D league talent. Talent that beat the Bobcats. Hopefully there will be big changes this off season. I was happy with the Cho hiring, but with Higgins bringing his kid in, it is clear who is still running the show. I will not spend another dime with that team until MJ does something to show us he is serious about winning.

Posted by: Former Season Ticket Holder | Apr 25, 2012 12:25:26 PM

Larry Brown should not be talking. He is a big reason they are in the shape they are. SMU? that is all you need to know.

Posted by: Davey | Apr 25, 2012 12:27:02 PM

The "friends and family" plan works for cell phones, not NBA franchises. Jordan brings in his buddies and their kids to run the team and we get to watch sub-standard basketball in our town. If we stumble upon a decent player, then you can bet that they will be shipped out of town within 6 months. Unfortunately Jordan's track record does not provide me any confidence that things will turn around soon.

Posted by: AppGrad04 | Apr 25, 2012 12:27:03 PM

MJ needs to definitely let Higgins go and let Cho be the one and only GM especially since he has a proven record. The Bobcats need to really do something in the upcoming draft but I do not think that A. Davis is the answer because we need offense and not defense. This team can be built into a winner it is just that we need to stop waiting and start doing!

Posted by: Kevin | Apr 25, 2012 12:33:55 PM

What's essentially incorrect about what Brown said?

Posted by: Jeff | Apr 25, 2012 12:38:09 PM

Charlotte Hornets will fix everything!!!!

Posted by: Big chub a dub | Apr 25, 2012 12:47:45 PM

I don't know what the hell some of you are thinking with some of these comments. The one and ONLY underlying thing that will have to happen for this franchise to have any success whatsoever is to kick Michael Jordan out and as far away from ANY NBA ownership or management. He is a BUM!!...plain and simple. He doesn't have a clue and only in this for self gravitas. Until he's gone....you gonna get what you see right now...ABYSMAL FAILURE!

Posted by: dittos | Apr 25, 2012 12:56:08 PM

Larry Brown shouldn't be the first to throw any rock on any topic. His own track record is an embarassment. Running out the back door as the problems he created come through the front door.

MJ isn't perfect, but I'd take his abiilty to change over Brown any day of the week.

Posted by: Play Fair | Apr 25, 2012 1:14:38 PM

didn't Chandler play on a championship team last year? Our players totally suck & the front office is awful at getting us better ones...I would never have traded Wallace away & I would have not lost Felton either...I promise they will screw up the draft, I bet we lose the lottery & take that choker Barnes (I am a big Carolina fan)...

I liked having Brown here, he criticized our lousy players & told management they were idiots....look at our team now....bunch of losers

Posted by: bull123 | Apr 25, 2012 1:21:18 PM

I really like to know what MJ has to say about all this bad publicity and hate toward him right now? Hey Rick can you get another interview with MJ and focus on all this bad press on him and the entire organization including what Larry Brown has to say and Barkley???

Posted by: big daddy | Apr 25, 2012 1:32:56 PM

If I recall correctly the cats made Felton a generous offer that he turned down on the advice of his agent. He ended up signing with the Knicks for less money and then getting traded 2 more times. He could very well land here again.

Posted by: apauldds | Apr 25, 2012 2:00:41 PM

MJ can suck it! Bobcats are sucky because of him. At least Brown took us to the playoffs and kept skilled guys like Wallace, Jackson, Chandler.

Posted by: kubomatic | Apr 25, 2012 2:04:31 PM

The headline on this story is incredibly misleading. I listened to the entire interview, and he indeed ripped MJ's "people". However, he never once ripped Jordan. As a matter of fact, he was somewhat complimentary of Jordan.

Posted by: Bissett | Apr 25, 2012 2:07:19 PM

@Geraldmutumbo, Faking an injury? Dude was walking around with a cast on his leg and brace on his knee. You don't fake something like that. It was a dumb move to trade him. But hey, look at it this way, every single season, a former Bobcat has joined a team mid season, and that team wins the championship. Don't believe me? Last year, Dal wins with Chandler, 2 years back to back before, Morrison and Shannon Brown win 2 rings, then came Boston with Eddie House, San Antonia had Melvin Ely, Miami had freaking Jason Kapono after he left Bobcats.

Posted by: Season Ticket Holder | Apr 25, 2012 2:08:13 PM

The only outrage here is that a 71 year old white man should be so silly as to tell the truth and think anybody would believe it.

Posted by: DougDoo | Apr 25, 2012 2:17:40 PM

Kevin - if you think we don't need defense, you didn't see any of the last 2 games. The Wizards and Kings are gawd-awful, and they looked like the '80s Lakers and Celtics against us.

Season Ticket Holder - don't forget about Boris Diaw, who is suddenly motivated every night now that he's on the best team in the league.

I must join the chorus of voices calling for Higgins' head. Cory Higgins has absolutely no business being on any NBA roster. Neither does DeMario Moon.

Posted by: J | Apr 25, 2012 2:50:44 PM

rick, i know you are hurt by being ignored but did you even listen to the interview? how about the other things he said about jordan, a lot of them more complimentary. congrats, you slanted it perfectly to get your interview, but man, you sometimes are really an idiot.

Posted by: seriously? | Apr 25, 2012 3:08:08 PM

People continue to harp over augustin instead of lopez.


Worse was carroll for diop. That had browns fingers on it. Playing flip murray instead of augustin. Later bringing in larry hughes. Failure to develop henderson, ajinca, and harm augustin's progress. Absolutely destroyed morrison's career coming off the injury.

But higgins? You can't defend his track record. Hermann for mohammed's horrible contract. Okafor for injured chandler. Healthy chandler for nothing and bad contracts and saying they saved money on a deal that cost them way more. And throwing ajinca in the deal unnecessarily. Letting felton walk instead of signing and then trading him. Signing his son instead of the several guards available this year.....lester hudson, patty mills, jeremy lin, etc. Gave up a 1st for tyrus thomas when guys like darren collison, j.j. hickson, and michael beasley were had for 2nd round picks or less.

Rod higgins is an absolute joke. His being on the staff at all is disrespectful to fans. He's had a ...6 or so year run right? Time to move on.

It's time for jordan to stop deflecting the constant criticism and listening to the constant. Higgins has to go. These aren't bums saying this. Van gundy, barkley, brown.....these are friends of michael in their own right. Brown is to blame for plenty but he also produced the first and only playoff birth. He also drafted the 2 best players left here.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 25, 2012 3:08:58 PM

cory higgins....lol... that says a lot to me right there

Posted by: zach | Apr 25, 2012 3:11:16 PM

I couldn't post this under the article of "Jordan defending himself", but everyone else in America knows he is an idiot & a few other choice derogatory adjectives.


Posted by: BIG MAC | Apr 25, 2012 3:31:13 PM

Good for Larry.

Posted by: George Hanson | Apr 25, 2012 3:36:56 PM

Of course Michael is going to defend his execs and organization because not doing so would mean that Jordan is wrong which we all no is impossible. It's amazing he can get his head thru the front door of Time Warner Arena

Posted by: TrueBBallFan | Apr 25, 2012 4:11:56 PM

Considering how bad things have been this year, isn't there enough blame to go around?

Posted by: moom | Apr 25, 2012 5:47:02 PM

Look at the experience (or lack of) that is on this roster. It is laughable. This season is a disaster by design, leading up to the strongest drafts in years. We've cleared our salary space wide open to start building for the future. Building through the draft is only way we can have a world class team in Charlotte and Jordan gets that.

Larry Brown was relieved of his job which was the right decision. Jordan brought in Cho who is doing exactly what Larry Brown speaks about. It's easy to pick on a team when it's down, even if its by design. Patience is something that we need right now and hopefully things will turn around quickly. The pressure is certainly building for MJ.

Posted by: HAve2650 | Apr 25, 2012 6:04:07 PM


Keep drinking the Kool-Aid the spaceship will be here soon

Posted by: True BBall Fan | Apr 25, 2012 6:50:21 PM

The thing is....the team was worse off last year. They won more games, but were going absolutely nowhere. They are starting to make the proper moves. The cory higgins thing is ridiculous, absolutely no justification there. Too many guys betterand more deserving than him.

The stephen silas thing actually makes some sense in that, we all know paul's days are numbered because of his age, why not get the kid some experience and see what happens? Hasn't hurt anything at all. It's like conducting interviews during a merger. You have to figure out if you have talent worth keeping before you start replacing it all. This season has been largely productive, the biggest problem or failure has been henderson and augustin missing a bunch of games and not really taking a big step forward to solidify those positions. That and tyrus thomas weighing 140 pounds.

I still think the starting 5 we are putting on the floor right now are all keepers (biyombo, mullens, brown, henderson, augustin) but with 4 of those guys sporting less than a season of starters experience and augustin a little under 2 years worth.....they have a ton of room to grow. And mixing in 2 or 3 lottery picks in the next 2 drafts will go along way.

But higgins has to go. David kahn doesn't get credit for the timberwolves when they draft top 5 for 10 years straight and finally get it right. Higgins won't either. Artest got 7 game suspension, higgins should be banned. How many bobcats fans were concussed banging their heads against the wall after the dampier trade?

Higgins really needs to go. Put him to work at jordan brand if he's so valuable. Not here.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 25, 2012 6:59:08 PM

As great a player as Jordan was, that's how inept he is as an owner. And pride probably won't let him admit it. This thing is broken beyond repair with the present cast of characters.

Posted by: King Ward | Apr 25, 2012 8:46:04 PM

I watched Larry play at Carolina in the early '60s, for the Cougars, coaching everywhere. I used to consider him special, but now I consider him old and out of touch.
I'm 8 years youger than LB, but I am not out of touch. I think MJ is doing the right things, (I sure hope to heck that he gets lucky in the lottery, and also buys back the Hornets Brand when it becomes available.
This franchise will become good, then great, and sustain greatness, but never with the name of Bobcats. MJ will make it work, he is the ultimate competitor.

Posted by: buzzkill | Apr 26, 2012 12:32:19 AM

Dittos is a dumb _unt

Posted by: buzzkill | Apr 26, 2012 12:36:44 AM

Buzz, you are deluded and an obvious MJ homer. Name one good thing MJ has done for the wizards and bobcats. I'll tell you-- he came out of retirement and sold out wizards games with some of the saddest, tired play I've seen from a legend. But at least he sold tickets. Beyond that, he's been terrible every step of the way. KWAME BROWN? Remember him? MJ will never win unless he learns to put his ego on the shelf. And that's not happening soon.

Posted by: Jack | Apr 26, 2012 8:27:36 AM

I had a maxim in college. Never pick your best friend as your roommate. If you do, you'll get sick of them, and won't want to hang out with them anymore. Pick someone you like but aren't extremely close to. If they become your best friend, get a new roommate.

Higgins is not incompetent, but he's way too personally close to Jordan for this to work out. Brown is an ass and a tornado to teams, but he does know his basketball, and I think the Bobcats would have been a lot better off if Jordan had talked to him more often, and sometimes, told him to shut up. Bonnell's story of Higgins listening patiently speaks volumes -- Higgins should have been pushing back and telling Brown where he was wrong and needed to suck it up.

Like John Fox, this isn't a "you suck, get out" moment for Higgins. It's a "this ain't working anymore" moment.

Posted by: Bull City Dog | Apr 26, 2012 10:11:14 AM

Do not compare john fox to rod higgins. Its not "this isnt working anymore" it never worked. And fox never sucked, he just didn't like what the front office was doing going into the lockout. John fox won every year he had a real team. Never underachieved.

Rod higgins IS completely incompetent. Calling the dampier trade a "money saving move" was hilarious. This is definitely "you suck, get out"

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 26, 2012 2:32:04 PM

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