Ten years ago, Michael Jordan, then the part owner and President of Basketball Operations of the Washington Wizards, was captivated by Kwame Brown's skills in pre-Draft workouts. The 19-year-old high school phenom infamously boasted, "If you draft me, you'll never regret it," even confidently telling the greatest player in league history that he'd beat him in a game.
Jordan, of course, went on to select Brown with the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, passing on several future All-Stars, including Pau Gasol and Joe Johnson, in the process. Following a disappointing four-year stint in Washington, during which Jordan incessantly berated and cursed out his top pick, Brown could never shed the "bust" label while sparingly playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Detroit Pistons. Even worse, his name was constantly in the headlines for the wrong reasons, from rape allegations, cake-throwing incidents, and other misdemeanor offenses, to feuds with coaches and teammates.
But make no mistake about it. Jordan, who is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, electing to give the 28-year-old journeyman another chance has nothing to do with Brown and everything to do with his own self-serving motives. Perhaps Jordan still remembers the young kid who impressed him during those fiery workouts. Or, maybe he regrets verbally abusing the impressionable young seven-footer and stunting his future NBA potential. And yet, there's no denying that the man who can't stand losing or facing any sort of criticism -- and not to mention, has a heavily-publicized gambling problem -- has indignantly carried the stigma of being a front office failure for nearly a decade. As an executive and player evaluator, Jordan has not only hand-picked Brown in Washington, but Adam Morrison over Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay with Charlotte in 2006.
So now Jordan will attempt to rectify his own mistake and prove his own naysayers wrong by showing that Brown, who's averaged a pedestrian 6.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in 510 games while mostly serving as a reserve, was a worthy top selection. The unemployed Morrison should be closely sitting by his phone.