Many basketball fans likely know the relationship between Michael Jordan and Kwame Brown, at least when they played together on the Washington Wizards, wasn’t great. Jason Whitlock, the veteran sportswriter, believes that is an understatement.
Brown recently returned to the spotlight and criticized everyone from Matt Barnes to Stephen A. Smith. In praising the 2001 No. 1 overall pick’s charisma, Whitlock offered his opinions on how Jordan affected Brown for life.
Jason Whitlock accused Michael Jordan of abusing Kwame Brown
Veteran sportswriter Jason Whitlock has been critical of Michael Jordan’s tenure with the Washington Wizards, particularly the six-time champion’s desire for total control and hiring “his cronies.”
In a recent interview with Scoon TV, Whitlock touched on the relationship between Jordan and Kwame Brown, the No. 1 overall pick in 2001. He said Jordan wanted the Wizards to trade Brown for Elton Brand, then a rising star center. The Los Angeles Clippers acquired Brand from the Bulls in June 2001.
According to Whitlock, Jordan wanted to win, and a rookie center who never played college basketball did not help in that regard. With Jordan in his late 30s and not wanting to spend his time developing Brown, that scenario created a problem.
“The greatest player in NBA history sabotaged the first two years of Kwame’s career and spread the narrative that Kwame was a bust. Kwame was a victim of Jordan’s petty, abusive nature. Kwame was never able to escape the narrative set by the most powerful man in basketball. He’s had to carry that for 20 years.”Jason Whitlock
The Wizards eventually traded Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers in August 2005, over two years after Jordan played his final game.
Whitlock also praised Brown for asserting himself
Whitlock isn’t among those who have been critical of Brown speaking his mind. In fact, it’s been the opposite.
Whitlock said he briefly spoke with Brown and encouraged him to continue sharing his thoughts. Their brief conversation left the veteran sportswriter extremely impressed.
“This kid has Grant Hill’s intelligence, Ali’s charisma, Malcolm X’s balls, and Richard Pryor’s vocabulary. He’s a disruptor. He has a message and an agenda. Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson are just props he’s using to build an audience. He couldn’t care less about those guys. He has two goals: 1) force the sports media to elevate their conversation; 2) protect his ability to serve as a father to his kids. “Jason Whitlock
Whitlock added that he “would not care” if Brown criticizes him at some point.
“I’m just happy he’s making an impact,” Whitlock said of Brown. “I think over time, once he’s built his following up, he’s going to lean more into the substance.”
Others in the media, including Stephen A. Smith, took issue with Brown
Whitlock considers himself a fan of Brown’s commentary and poise. Others in the sports media world can’t say the same.
Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson each criticized Brown on the Up in Smoke podcast. Jemele Hill, the former ESPN television personality who now writes for The Atlantic, got into a social media spat with Brown about choosing “violence.”
Hill later clarified her comments in a tweet, explaining the “violence” comment was a Game of Thrones reference.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith built a following by criticizing Brown during his playing career. When the 2001 No. 1 overall pick aimed at Smith, the ESPN star responded by playing a video of Brown’s errors and worst plays on Stephen A’s World, his ESPN+ program.
As of publication, Jordan had not said anything about Brown or responded to the recent events.