Among all the draft busts that have donned an NBA jersey, Kwame Brown has garnered the most interest. A big reason behind this was that he was selected by Michael Jordan, the Washington Wizards co-owner during that time. Fans assumed that under Jordan’s wing, Brown would turn out to be one of the best big men in history. But, as we all know, things did not pan out this way. And according to Etan Thomas, it wasn’t because Jordan pushed him way too hard. Doug Collins, the Wizards’ coach during that time, was the prime suspect for Brown’s downfall.
“Like, you know Kwame probably won’t say it now but I could say it because I was there. Doug Collins, you know, it was almost like he had a personal vendetta against Kwame… He wanted to almost take his confidence. If things didn’t go right, he wanted to blame somebody and not blame MJ. So Kwame got all the blame,” Thomas said, per Mikey Domagala.
There’s a lot of speculation that Jordan was the prime suspect in shattering Brown’s mettle. After all, everyone knew Jordan’s reputation was being extra tough on his teammates. But again, Thomas clarified this outside perspective with the things he saw with his own eyes. From his point of view, Jordan treated Kwame the way he treated everyone else. From the way he saw things develop, Collins was the one harsh with Brown.
“His relationship with Kwame looked alright with me. He pushed him as much as he pushes everyone else. So I don’t think MJ was the problem. I think it was more Doug Collins. I think Doug Collins wanted to protect MJ. There’s just so much more going on. So Kwame had to take the blame for everything. It was a messed up situation for an 18-year-old kid to come into.”
Thomas’ comments give things more perspective. The media wanted to paint Jordan as the bad guy, probably because he was the biggest star of them all. But in reality, it was the man donning the suit and tie who was to blame. As Thomas himself wrote in basketballnews.com, “false narratives perpetuated by the media” hurt and are continuing to hurt Brown.