April 11, 2012
On Sam Vincent, Michael Jordan and credibility
The Charlotte Bobcats are losing at an historic pace and their owner is one of the most famous people in the world. So inevitably and appropriately, Michael Jordan is going to draw some criticism and second-guessing.
The Washington Post ran a story this week, http://bit.ly/HCEM17 trying to address what kind of owner Jordan is. (Jordan previously ran the Wizards basketball operation, so it’s clear why the Post had interest). The most prominent quotes in that story came from former Bobcats coach Sam Vincent, who questioned whether Jordan puts in enough time as an NBA executive “or even if he cares to.’’
That’s the kind of juicy candor reporters love, but when I read Vincent’s quotes, I had a different reaction: That Vincent has an agenda regarding Jordan that readers deserve to understand.
Vincent was fired as Bobcats coach in April 2008, after a single 32-50 season. Clearly, he’s still bitter about that because a few weeks ago he sent me an unsolicited email full of sarcasm. He claimed my negativity got him fired and that if he still coached the Bobcats, they would be winning 50 games this season.
I’ve covered nine coaches in 24 years on the NBA beat in Charlotte, and Vincent was by far the most self-destructive. He was a rookie at this, but the problems went beyond inexperience.
He once nearly cost the team a seven-figure NBA fine by unilaterally cancelling a team flight to Milwaukee (snowy weather). He never checked with Jordan or then-general manager Rod Higgins and disregarded the recommendation of the charter-flight company.
Before a game in Orlando he announced he would stop playing point guard Raymond Felton at shooting guard. Then he immediately played Felton massive minutes at shooting guard.
Center Emeka Okafor, maybe the most diplomatic, compliant guy in the NBA, volunteered in Utah one night that he wasn’t sure he wanted to remain a Bobcat because of how arbitrarily Vincent used him.
By the end of that season, I couldn’t find a player who wanted Vincent back. Neither could Jordan, who fired him and hired Larry Brown.
None of Vincent’s mistakes negate whether Jordan should be criticized for the Bobcats’ miserable season. But it’s apparent Vincent has an agenda that colors anything he says about the Bobcats in general and Jordan in particular.
Posted by Observer Sports on April 11, 2012 at 04:43 PM | Permalink
the biggest problem with people who criticize jordan's ownership is WHAT they are criticizing. Being an owner is more about willingness to back the team financially, and ability to hire the appropriate people to do the real work. It's not about jordan being at the games, it's not about jordan scouting players, it's not about jordan doing anything really.
owners don't play. they don't coach. they don't scout. they cut the check. as far as I've heard thus far.....the checks aren't bouncing.
The hires have been the area of question for Jordan and he seems to be getting better with this. SEEMS. otherwise, everything about the franchise has improved in the transition from johnson to jordan. The arena, the staff, etc.
Jordan as president of basketball operations is different (and horrible) from Jordan as owner. Most people haven't differentiated. If one of our next 2 draft picks turn out to be a stud nba superstar everybody will talk about how jordan has turned it around and in reality......he will have almost nothing to do with that except for......cutting the checks.
and sam vincent is an idiot. and jordan hired him. him playing felton at the 2 and okafor at the 4 was crazy. trading for nazr mohammed's horrible contract was crazy.
Posted by: charlottean | Apr 11, 2012 4:58:05 PM
Vincent needs to stop dropping acid, or doing whatever hallucinagenic drug that is giving him these visions.
Posted by: J | Apr 11, 2012 5:21:08 PM
I have watched NBA basketball for over 50 years, and I can honestly say the Bobcats are the worst "team" ever (including the '72 Sixers)!
MJ should be arrested for impersonating an NBA owner!
Posted by: Sundar Fleming | Apr 11, 2012 5:28:58 PM
Sam Vincent is just another one of the several disastrous moves that set this franchise back. SMH @ this team.
Posted by: Smitty | Apr 11, 2012 5:38:44 PM
bobcats are not the worst team ever. Their winning % might be in that range but they also had their most competent players missing significant amounts of time and an extremely young team playing in a lockout shortened season with no offseason workouts and training.
they have the worst record in the nba this year. they aren't the worst team. there's a difference. no way they are worst than the expansion team that won several more games. no way they are worse than the expansion raptors and grizzlies franchises. no way.
Posted by: charlottean | Apr 11, 2012 6:20:12 PM
I completely second Charlottean.
Posted by: altheus | Apr 11, 2012 6:57:31 PM
john salley vs. gana diop vs. eric mobley
let the debates ensue. Salley won the rings (by default). Mobley was in nba jam tournament edition. Diop got paid like no other. All 3 starred at center on these abominable teams and barely cracked the lineup.
I'm going mobley for what he should have been being better than what diop shouldn't have been.
Posted by: charlottean | Apr 11, 2012 7:36:45 PM
we all know that jordan is doing everything he can to help this team in contending for a championship. I can't say that i don't like our two draft picks because they are the only reason why bobcats has something to show us. Kemba has that speed on the open court and Biz has a great defensive skill. Whether this draft is anthony davis or not someone will eventually help this team is someway.
We need to cut jardan a break. being an owner is difficult especially after Hornets was moved. the fan base made it hard for the man to have much financial power but i can see how we'll be better with this team growing next season.
Posted by: vinh | Apr 11, 2012 8:26:52 PM
Sam is bitter. However if the league isn't rigged, I am all for the way we are rebuilding; worst to first. It's sad the league allows this and in fact rigged the system to fail to succeed. You have to be horrendous and get lucky and land a franchise player, as a small market team. All I can say is thank God panther season is around the corner, this NBA season has been TOO long.
Posted by: Bighung | Apr 11, 2012 8:52:26 PM
For those saying the NBA is rigged, you're all correct. Chicago didn't just "get" Derrick Rose, San Antonio didn't just "get" Tim Duncan, and Cleveland didn't just "get" Kyrie Irving after losing LBJ, by the luck of the lottery.
In my opinion, Stern is going to give MJ that 1st pick and Anthony Davis. Everyone in Charlotte will be happy about this season being tanked in a few years. Because that's just what's happening, to build a team in a small market you have to do so by getting the highest possible pick in the draft. This team isn't bad enough to lose to the Wizards by 20+.
MJ hiring Rich Cho is the smartest thing he's every done, and that man knows what he's doing. We all as Charlotteans need to stand behind this team because we are all just a few years out.
Posted by: YesWeCam | Apr 11, 2012 11:00:32 PM
^Bingo! This is a rebuilding year. The team is just auditioning for next season. Small market teams take time to build, especially when some folks are still hurt about the Hornets. Give Jordan some time and slack. Cho is going to get this team in the right direction.
Posted by: D.W.G. | Apr 12, 2012 8:05:56 AM
Lot's of common sense in these posts. The Haters must still be sleeping. I have a feeling the trolls are on their way....
Posted by: Davey | Apr 12, 2012 8:48:34 AM
Same people bashing MJ and the Bobcats in 2012 are the same people saying AAA baseball uptown will create jobs and grow the tax base.
Explain that to me. Even if the team (the bobcats) is horrible, it's STILL beneficial economically. But if we all get behind it and it starts to win? Oh then it's a windfall. Because of that franchise we got the arena, because of that arena look at how much the city has prospered since. We have made a TON of money locally off of ACC events, NCAA events, CIAA weekends, now DNC, in addition to all the great concerts that probably would have passed over Charlotte.
Anybody crying for contraction instead of getting on board doesn't realize how detrimental for all of us that would be.
We should ALL as charlotteans be thankful we have Jordan (who has no aspirations to ever move the team) instead of somebody else, like the guy from Houston or St. Louis or wherever he was from. The team would ALREADY be gone. Grass is not greener.
Posted by: charlottean | Apr 12, 2012 9:06:28 AM
What's funny is that Rick just wrote a whole diatribe about how terrible Sam Vincent is, but fails to mention JORDAN is the one who hired him. So what does that make the great Jordan, Rick? Circular logic at its finest...
Posted by: Frank | Apr 12, 2012 2:52:01 PM
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