The legacy of Michael Jordan is still the greatest in sports. Jordan dominated the sports industry with his NBA dominance in the 1990s as a member of the Chicago Bulls. A combination of success, style and determination made Jordan appeal to fans all over the world. A total of six NBA Championship rings came in the form of two three-peat runs. Jordan won the NBA Finals every year thanks to dominant scoring, superb defense and an iconic clutch gene. The sports world still values Jordan as one of their biggest names thanks to his successful brand. It all started on the NBA hardwood court.
LeBron James and any future NBA legends have to compare their careers with Jordan if they wanted to be considered the greatest of all time. That is the true magic of Jordan and the NBA loves it. Sadly, there have been a few instances of negative moments in Jordan’s life and career. The less prideful memories are often forgotten due to the fact that Jordan’s excellence as an athlete made us all love him on our televisions. Those in power at the NBA also hope these things are understated in his career retrospective. We'll break down the top fifteen things about Jordan that the NBA wants you to forget.
13 Horrible Team Owner
Michael Jordan's success on the court allowed him to branch out in the other world of basketball. Jordan became the President of Basketball Operations and a minority owner of the Washington Wizards. Washington struggled under the watch of Jordan with bad decision after bad decision. One decision saw him trade Richard Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse. Hamilton helped the Detroit Pistons win the NBA Championship and Stackhouse did nothing to help improve the Wizards.
Jordan later would get a minority ownership stake with the Charlotte Bobcats before eventually becoming the principal owner. The Bobcats were the laughingstock for many years under the leadership of Jordan. Charlotte had the worst season in NBA history in 2012 with a 7-59 record during a shortened season. Jordan’s Charlotte team has improved under the Hornets name, but still remain far from a contender.
12 Tacky HOF Speech
The Hall of Fame is usually a proud moment for an athlete, where they can celebrate the best moments and memories of their career. Fans were excited to watch the greatest basketball star of all time on the big stage, but he used it as a petty platform to rant about others. Jordan went the tacky route, insulting the people he disliked from the basketball world.
Jeff Van Gundy and Bryon Russell were two targets that Jordan tried to humiliate in his big moment. Instead of thanking everyone that helped get him to this level of life, Jordan opted to show a horrible side as a huge jerk. It was the first time many fans realized how awful of a person Jordan can be. Young kids that idolized him in the 90s saw his true character as they watched his HOF speech at an older age.
11 Entire Wizards Run
We have already discussed his ownership role with the Washington Wizards, but that wasn’t even the worst part. Jordan returned to the court after a picture perfect retirement in 1998. Fans love to remember his final moment as hitting a game-winner to lead the Chicago Bulls to a sixth NBA Championship. Jordan ruined the moment by returning to play for his Wizards in hopes of turning around the team he owned a stake in.
Jordan's age caught up to him along with a mediocre team. Jordan failed to make the playoffs both years in Washington. His numbers were great for someone of his age, but it was embarrassing to watch a once flawless athlete end his career in such an irrelevant fashion. Jordan had the perfect retirement, but threw it away for a lackluster ending.
10 Kobe Ruined His Final All-Star Game
One cool moment during Michael Jordan’s final year in the NBA featured the All-Star Game being centered on him. The entire weekend saw the league celebrate the icon with various events, including the actual game itself. Vince Carter gave up his starting spot to allow Jordan to start one final time on the big stage.
The moment was almost perfect, as Jordan hit a potential game-winning shot in the final seconds to give the Eastern Conference the lead. Fans in attendance delivered one of the loudest responses at an All-Star Game. Sadly, the moment was ruined when Kobe Bryant was fouled shooting his attempt on the next possession for the Western Conference. Bryant sent the game to OT and the West ended up winning to cancel out Jordan’s heroics.
11. Drafted Adam Morrison Third Overall
Michael Jordan's greatness on the court failed to transfer over to his role putting together a roster. This was shown perfectly during the 2006 NBA Draft. Jordan used the Charlotte Bobcats third overall pick to draft Adam Morrison. Morrison's college career was very impressive, but most scouts didn’t buy it carrying over to the NBA.
Jordan took a chance and made a massive error. Morrison became a bust and one of the worst top three picks in NBA history. Jordan passed on Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, Rajon Rondo and Kyle Lowry in favor of Morrison. It was one of his most high profile errors and it saw him receive criticism from around the NBA world. Somehow it still wasn’t the worst draft pick ever made by Jordan.
10. Drafted Kwame Brown First Overall
The worst draft pick ever made by Michael Jordan saw him select Kwame Brown with the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Brown was coming out of high school and Jordan banked on his talent making up for his lack of college experience. Jordan passed on future stars like Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, and Joe Johnson to make his decision look even worse as time went on.
Brown struggled from day one and was never able to convert his talent into success. Sports fans still reference Brown when discussing the worst selections in draft history and it's often viewed as Jordan’s biggest mistake in the game of basketball. The error of drafting Brown is something any person or organization associated with Jordan wants to forget about.
9 Allen Iverson Crossed Him Over
Allen Iverson entered the NBA during Michael Jordan’s final few years of dominance. Their matchups were fun, as we were watching a rising young star against the king of basketball. Iverson couldn’t match Jordan in the standings, but used his style to get the better of him in one of their games. The crossover reaction heard all over the world took place in 1997 when Iverson used his dribbling skills and speed to fool Jordan.
It was a rare embarrassing moment for Jordan and everyone saw it. The crossover became a staple of Iverson’s game and his reputation began to truly develop then. Jordan always hated being on the humiliating end of a memorable moment and this is one that haunted him in his final years. There’s no doubt it hurts his ego any time the highlight plays today.
8 Lost In Playoffs To Orlando
History remembers Michael Jordan as completely dominating the NBA through the 90s. The Chicago Bulls pulled off three-peat title runs twice in the span of eight years. Jordan missed the majority of both seasons they failed to win it all with his first retirement, but the basketball legend returned right before the 1995 NBA Playoffs.
Very few people talk about it, but the Orlando Magic squad led by Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway eliminated the Bulls, with Jordan, 4-2 in the second round. It showed just how talented that Magic team was before things fell apart. Jordan having such little time on the court before the playoffs is the main reason Chicago lost, but it's still overlooked when talking about the Bulls dynasty.
7 MLB Failure
The most shameful moment of Michael Jordan’s career, from the NBA’s perspective, is when he retired to attempt a career in the MLB. Jordan decided to change paths at the end of the Chicago Bulls first three-peat in hopes of becoming a crossover star in baseball. The Chicago White Sox signed Jordan for their minor league team, partly due to the Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf also running the MLB team.
Jordan hoped to fulfill his father's dream by trying to become a star in the MLB. Instead, it turned into the biggest mistake of his playing career. Jordan barely hit above .200 and did not have the tools to succeed in baseball. Someone that great leaving the NBA to fail in another sport is something the league hopes is rarely talked about today.
6 Gambling Controversy
An addiction to gambling was one of MJ's weaknesses during his basketball career. Jordan was caught gambling in Atlantic City the night before an important playoff game against the New York Knicks to put it out in the public. Reports started to leak about Jordan owing large debts to various folks. A conspiracy theory still exists on the internet that the murder of Jordan’s father came as a result of Michael’s debt, but it's just a theory.
Jordan’s gambling issues continued for many years. Stories from friends have revealed Jordan has lost as much as $1 million in a single day on the golf course. The high stakes risk clearly appealed to Jordan and became a part of his reckless financial lifestyle off the court. Luckily, he made more than enough to get over it and is still one of the most lucrative sports names today.
5 Pistons Eliminated Him Three Years in a Row
Everyone tends to only remember the peak of Michael Jordan’s career, when he led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships in eight years. There was one big roadblock that prevented him from winning even more during his earlier years. The Detroit Pistons eliminated the Bulls from the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.
Detroit played a tough style of basketball that saw play get physical quite often. The heartbreak of a seven-game series defeat to the Pistons in the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals was the final straw before the Bulls turned the tables the following season. Chicago swept Detroit thanks to Jordan taking his game to another level, getting his first ring. Jordan grew from those three years, but the Pistons were his kryptonite for quite some time.
4 Blocked Isiah Thomas From Dream Team
The rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons led to the players legitimately disliking each other off the court. Two teams facing off in intense playoff series four years in a row will always lead to personal rivalries and the star players of each squad actually loathed each other. In particular, Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan couldn’t stand each other.
The trash talk was one thing, but Jordan’s popularity in 1992 saw him dominate the basketball world. This was shown during the 1992 Olympics when the men’s basketball team for the United States created the legendary “Dream Team.” Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley and numerous legends all joined forces to bring gold to the U.S. One name snubbed was Thomas and it was due to Jordan using his power to block his rival. Thomas missed out on the special opportunity due to Jordan being a jerk.
3 Rumors Of His Playoff Flu Being a Hangover
“The flu game” is one of the highlights of Michael Jordan’s career. Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz were tied 2-2 in the 1997 NBA Finals. The story broke that Jordan was suffering from the flu and his status was questionable heading into the game. Obviously, Jordan played and had an iconic game that added to his legacy, along with taking control of the NBA Finals to win it all.
Rumors have circulated through the years that Jordan did not have the flu, despite looking visibly ill on the court all night. The theory is that Jordan got drunk the night before and had a nasty hangover the following day that was shown on the court. If it’s true, it would embarrass the NBA to have their greatest star get drunk the night before an NBA Finals game.
2 Bullied Teammates
Michael Jordan’s greatness on the court did not extend to his personal skills with peers. Many teammates, opponents and employees of Jordan have spoken out regarding his tactics. Former teammate Steve Kerr revealed that Jordan once punched him in the face during practice for having a disagreement about a play. Another Bulls star, Bill Cartwright, felt the wrath of Jordan. Cartwright replaced Jordan’s friend Charles Oakley and was verbally insulted by Jordan, including having the nickname of “Medical Bills” to mock his injuries.
Opponent Muggsy Bogues was a victim of Jordan’s trash talk, when the term “f***ing midget” was used during a playoff game. His bullying continued during his time running the Washington Wizards, as Jordan often ridiculed high school draft pick Kwame Brown in practice to the point where the 18 year old reportedly cried.
1 Disrespects Fans
Michael Jordan's popularity makes him someone almost every American sports fan wants to meet. Fans to actually met Jordan in public, however, have shared stories to make it less desirable. Jordan often refuses to sign autographs or take pictures with fans for free. Hip hop artist Chamillionaire found this out firsthand when the experience of meeting his childhood hero turned into a nightmare.
Chamillionaire shared a story about asking for a picture with the basketball icon. Jordan not only turned down the request, but cursed him out, stating he’ll take a picture if Chamillionaire paid $15,000 for a jersey right there. Other fans have shared similar stories. Servers that once adored Jordan experienced the same disrespected when the wealthy star tipped them poorly. Basically, Jordan doesn’t treat anyone with respect unless it's someone he cares about impressing. That’s not a good look for the NBA.