“With the first pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select, Kwame Brown.” After David Stern delivered those very words, Kwame’s legacy was born for all the wrong reasons.

At the time of the 2001 NBA Draft, Michael Jordan was the President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards and after landing the first overall pick, Michael Jordan had to hit a home run. He was new to the front office role and drafting a future star would legitimize him greatly.

The front office role wasn’t for MJ, not yet at least as he came out of retirement soon after the draft and became Kwame’s teammate. Jordan’s competitive fire burned a little brighter towards Kwame. Michael picked him for a reason; if he didn’t believe Brown could become a future star, he wouldn’t have made the selection.

Brown was drafted immediately after his senior year of high school; needless to say, a huge target was placed on his back. Much like many other rookies, Kwame had struggled when he first arrived into the NBA. Many teams grant leeway towards budding stars to experience and grow into legitimate NBA players. Jordan wouldn’t let this occur with Kwame. Jordan was not the type of player to sit around and wait for success; he demanded it.

Season Age Tm G FG% 2P% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2001-02 19 WAS 57 .387 .388 .707 3.5 0.8 0.3 0.5 0.8 1.8 4.5

(via. Basketball Reference)

Kwame Brown wasn’t one to embrace this negative reinforcement as motivation. His biggest critic, Michael Jordan, reportedly bullied him throughout his entire rookie season. Because of MJ’s status, no one would side with the rook. A widely believed conspiracy circled around Jordan targeting Brown with homophobic slurs, which many believed became detrimental towards his confidence, ultimately ruining his career. He declined these conspiracies in his interview with HoopsHype

Although Kwame deems these accusations as false, many continue to believe Jordan’s negativity was the main reason he was never able to ever grasp the competitiveness of the NBA. He became the laughing stock of the association; it didn’t help that analysts like Stephen A. Smith would continuously refer to him as “a Bonafide Scrub.”

Kwame Brown definitely underperformed in his tenure with the National Basketball Association. He became a sturdy role player who showed decent staying power within the league by playing for 12 years and racking up over $63 million after hopping from team to team, even after his career became riddled with injuries.

Many other ‘busts’ never earned themselves another contract after their rookie deals, Kwame earned multiple ones. The idea that Kwame Brown was the biggest bust in NBA history is downright false.

Brown is now showcasing his talents in Ice Cube’s Big3 League on FS1 – he is one of the most productive players and still remains in great shape.

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