The Kwame Brown fiasco is a cautionary tale for media
Kwame Brown wants “all the smoke.”
For nearly two decades, Brown has been the subject of jokes regarding the NBA’s biggest busts. And it’s arguable whether he belongs in that conversation. Granted, Brown didn’t live up to the potential of a No. 1 overall pick, but playing 12 NBA seasons is nothing to gloss over. Additionally, he made over $64 million.
A “bust” doesn’t make that kind of bank over that long of a period.
Nevertheless, Brown’s career is once again the subject of conversation. And Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson are to thank for that.
Over several recent episodes of the All The Smoke podcast, Barnes and Jackson loosely critiqued Brown’s career. It began during their interview with Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. As Buss discussed the Pau Gasol trade details, Jackson cut Buss short. He insinuated Marc Gasol was the only player the Lakers traded for Pau.
That was strike one. Strike two came during their following interview with Gilbert Arenas.
“Agent Zero” discussed his arrival to the Washington Wizards, where Brown still played. He discussed his feelings over Brown’s lack of confidence. It’s also something he blamed Michael Jordan for, who drafted Brown. Arenas’ criticism was fair, in my opinion. It painted a picture of who Kwame Brown became, not the potential he had.
However, the non-verbals from Jackson and Barnes are what the cool kids would classify as “shade.” The eye rolls and facial expressions were clear as day. Both were not amused by Arenas’ assessment of Brown.
Now let’s keep it all the way one hundred.
And let’s do this without getting into the personal insults that Brown traded with Barnes/Jackson. Those private life comments are something I hope all gentlemen will rectify off social media. It’s not a good look for men of their cache to trade such nasty barbs, whether it’s warranted or not.
Barnes and Jackson didn’t say anything ultra rude about Kwame Brown. It’s arguable whether their criticism was spot on or not. The problem with their comments is that they weren’t necessary. Routinely, NBA players will refer to their league as a brotherhood. Most players consider the league to have somewhat of a family-like atmosphere.
So the NBA equals a brotherhood and family, right?
Imagine how Brown feels watching two of his peers’ levy shade in his direction? And to make matters worse, what if one of those guys is a former teammate that you’ve never wronged? You’d be highly upset, wouldn’t you?
Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson have one of the most respected sports podcasts out right now. They are an entertaining duo who and are amazing at what they do. The interviews they’ve completed so far contain some legendary untold stories.
Despite that, Brown made an excellent point regarding the podcast duo.
Why would you use your platform to throw shade at your “brother”? Along with that, why would you disrespect me publicly but not invite me on the show to discuss said criticism? Those are some of the questions that Kwame Brown asked in a series of YouTube videos.
And he has a damn good point.
He was chilling. During that entire time everyone had jokes for him, he didn’t publicly address. At least not to this extent. He took it all in stride up until now.
And more power to him because if I were in his shoes, it couldn’t have been me.
Guess what, though? I am not in his shoes, nor is anyone else. So seeing comments on social media that he overreacted to remarks makes no sense. No one is walking in Kwame Brown’s shoes. No one but him has to explain to his teenage son why his fellow former NBA players are publicly clowning him. If it were merely sports analysts who criticized Brown, he probably would have let it slide. Heck, if it were criticism coming from the likes of the late Kobe Bryant, he might have still chilled.
However, the criticism came from Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. Like Brown, they’ve been NBA journeymen during their NBA careers. While Brown played for seven teams in his career, Jackson played for eight, and Barnes played for ten (eleven if you count his second stint with the Warriors). Then there’s the number of seasons all played. Brown played 12 seasons, while both Jackson and Barnes played 13 apiece. Then when it comes to salary, Jackson made about $4 million more in his career than Brown (roughly $68 million total), he nearly doubled what Barnes made (approximately $35 million) during his.
Lastly, there are the numbers. Stephen Jackson’s career numbers are respectable, averaging just about 15.1 points for his career, wherein four of those seasons averaged over 20 points. Barnes is a different scenario. Like Brown, Barnes averaged in the single digits, with 8.2 points for his career. So in Brown’s mind, with those averages (Barnes’ anyway), it doesn’t look good that they are throwing stones. Outside of Jackson’s career averages, all three of them share several things in common.
The bottom line is this. Everyone has a breaking point.
Over the past several days, Kwame Brown had his. It’s that simple. And in the fashion that he handled said criticism, it’s doubtful former players will publicly criticize their peers for the foreseeable future. Additionally, it will serve as a valuable reminder for the media. Be careful when critiquing players. It’s ok to be funny. It’s ok to have jokes. However, be tactful. Otherwise, this type of scenario could be the end result.