CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Michael Jordan’s No. 23 has long been synonymous with greatness. By Thursday night that number could have a completely different meaning for him.
His Charlotte Bobcats face their 23rd consecutive loss and would finish the season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history (.106) if they don’t beat the New York Knicks on the final night of the shrunken season. And that would mean the man recognized globally as the greatest basketball player ever would be the not-so-proud owner of the worst NBA team ever.
A spectacular resume that includes six NBA championships and five league MVP awards would also include one very forgettable season for the record book.
It’s been 39 years since an NBA team finished with a worse winning percentage than the Bobcats. In a full season, the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers finished 9-73 (.110) in a full regular season.
In this lockout-shortened regular season, the Bobcats are a woeful 7-58 _ and they are every bit as bad as the numbers indicate.
They’re last in league scoring and shooting percentage. They’ve lost 21 games by 20 points or more. It’s hard to decide what’s worse, their offense or their defense.
Coach Paul Silas certainly would like to avoid the embarrassment of being known as the coach of the worst team ever.
“If we get a win it will be the best thing that has happened to us all season,” Silas said.
That may be tough since the Bobcats are everything Jordan wasn’t as a player _ unproductive, uncompetitive and unwatchable.
Jordan told the Charlotte Observer on Wednesday that he knew this was going to be a trying year, but didn’t expect it would be this bad.
“But did we want to chase the most pingpong balls (in the May 30 draft lottery)? No way,” Jordan told the newspaper. “Ever since I’ve owned the team I think we’ve made some very positive moves on the business side. We had to make a difficult decision to turn over the talent. This year the talent we had didn’t respond, but that doesn’t cause me to turn my back on the plan.”
While Jordan is sticking to his plan, the Bobcats have been painful to watch.
No one on the roster comes close to having Jordan’s charisma _ not to mention his ability to dominate. They lack a face for the franchise, at least on the court.
And all that’s on Jordan.
His reputation as an executive continues to take hit after hit, just the way he used to make game-winning shot after shot.