It was a difficult task to earn respect from Michael Jordan, especially if you were a young player entering the league. Kwame Brown, the number one pick of the 2001 NBA Draft, got to experience that first hand. Projected to be a future superstar, Brown made a disappointing debut averaging 4.5 points, 3.5 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game.
During twelve years in the NBA, Brown never lived up to the expectations and it seems being a teammate of Jordan early in his career may have played a big part in how his career turner out in the end.
In the latest episode of Slate’s Hang Up And Listen Podcast, former NBA layer Brendan Haywoon and journalist Rachel Nichols shed some light on the relationship between Brown and Brown.
Brendan Haywood and Rachel Nichols on Michael Jordan’s tense relationship with first overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft Kwame Brown:
Rachel Nichols: “It was a tough relationship. I don’t think that you can say that Kwame would have been a superstar if he had been somewhere else. But, it certainly was a lot harder because he started under that spotlight and he was never able to do everything Michael wanted him to do, and it caused a lot of friction.”
Brendan Haywood: “He’s trying to learn all that stuff on the fly. But more importantly, no one ever identified that, man, this is an immature kid right now that’s trying to fit into a grown man’s world and Mike didn’t neither. But, you know, he’s Mike! He’s the greatest player of all time, he’s won championships, he expects a certain level. He had never played with a high school guy before. So he didn’t understand we had to dumb it down for him or we needed to talk to him a certain way…I don’t think Mike realized that Kwame — you’re not a teammate to him. You’re Michael Jordan. He looks up to you. So when you yell at Kwame, you take all his confidence. When you talk down to Kwame, he feels like he’s nothing.”