Friday, September 26, 2008

The Worst GM/Presidents in Sports

When I lived in Sacramento a few years back, I was riding down the street while my friend was driving and hit something. We stopped and got out of the vehicle to see what happened. It was a huge cat. Half of the cat was pretty much smashed and it was screaming something awful. So my friend said, well, we better fix this. He got back in the car and ran over the cat again. The theory was, the cat was in misery, so better to kill it than let it suffer.
As fans we always think we're suffering. I've been a Dodgers fan my entire life, but have only seen them do something special once, in 1988. That was a long time ago. It seems like being in L.A. they should be able to spend some money and put a winner on the field. Until the Dodgers recently brought in the best player in baseball, it seemed nothing would help. Now, there have been some bad GMs and Presidents in sports, but there are two that seem to be worse than any others. Luckily these two men were finally run over for the second time this year. So, who is the worst GM/President in sports over the past ten-twenty years? I think it has to be one of these two, but if you think I'm missing someone let me know. And save it, I know Scott Layden sucks.

Matt Millen, Detriot Lions: Millen was finally ousted this week when he was let go on Wednesday. Millen has a legitimate shot to be considered the worst General Manager in sports history. Since Millen's arrival in 2001, the Lions have gone 31-84, the worst record in the NFL in that span. Well, not only the worst record in the NFL, the worst by ten games! The Lions did not win more than 7 games in a single season under Millen. During the first three years of Millen's tenure the Lions didn't win a road game, going 0-24. Since then, the Lions have really stepped it up, going 8-26. After Millen's fourth season as GM, Lion's owner William Clay Ford gave Millen an extension and a raise. Millen was making $5 million per year. Some guys have all the luck. What other job could you possibly have where you suck horribly, make things worse, alienate your clientele, and you get a raise for your efforts?

The Lion's fan base was so alienated that in December of 2005 they had a Millen Man March to protest Millen's contract extension. Fire Millen signs were seen at Lions games and Keep Millen signs would be seen in opponent's sections. Millen was quoted earlier this year as saying that the team's record under him is "beyond awful and worthy of having one's balls shot off." Thanks for the genitalia reference, Matt. Millen has been horrible in the NFL draft - of all the players he drafted in his years with the Lions, two have made the Pro Bowl. He has selected busts such as Joey Harrington, Charles Rogers, and Mike Williams. Didn't everyone know that Harrington and Williams shouldn't be drafted that high? Well, I must defer to Stephen A. Smith, who sums it up well:

This team is atrocious and Matt Millen is a walking football atrocity. He is the worst executive, in my opinion, in the history of team sports. He is flat out garbage. The fact that he is allowed to have a job, the fact that he is allowed to walk through the streets of Detroit to enter Ford Field is an abomination in and of itself. There should be barricades keeping this man out of the city limits. He should not be allowed to be employed by the Detroit Lions. He is a disgrace of the highest order.”

Isiah Lord Thomas III, New York Knicks: Is there a worse guy in all of sports? This guy is a prick of the highest order. The sad thing is that growing up I loved this guy, even as a Lakers fan. I thought Isiah was the truth. I watched him injure his ankle against the Lakers in the NBA Finals and come back to drop 25 in one quarter, a then NBA Finals record (it may still be, I don't know). I thought Isiah was great - watching him throw a bounce alley-oop, his insane handle, and his captaining the toughest team in the league was impressive to me. Too bad I later found out what a complete A-hole he is. He seems to take his middle name literally.

A sign to the Knicks that signing Isiah as GM might be a bad thing could have been the fact that Thomas almost single-handedly destroyed the CBA. In 1998, Thomas purchased the CBA and it took him only two years before the association had to file for bankruptcy. In 2003, the Knicks hired Thomas as the President of Basketball Operations. By 2006, the Knicks had the league's highest payroll and second-worst record. In 2006, Isiah was also charged with sexual harrassment, which resulted in Madison Square Garden paying Anuche Sanders 11.6 million dollars. You see, Isiah has this magical life where he can do whatever he wants with other people's money. Must be nice. It also came out in the trial that Isiah said he doesn't care about "these f---ing white people" or "these f---ing season ticket holders." Class act, Zeke. Class act.

During the 4+ years of the Isiah era, the Knicks have lost over 60% of their games. They even had a worse record (56-108) when Isiah was put on the bench as coach after Larry Brown left. Over the span of the Thomas tenure, the Knicks have amassed the NBAs largest payroll and third-worst overall record. It all started when Thomas bet the farm on perpetual malcontent Stephon Marbury. If that wasn't enough, Isiah went out and got studs like Jamal Crawford, Jared Jeffries, Quentin Richardson, Jerome James, Steve Francis, and Zach Randolph. He got players just good enough to lose with. Isiah created a team of scorers - five guys on the floor who saw every shot as their own. Every time down the court on defense you have four guys pissed off because they didn't get to take the shot on the offensive end.

I found a recent quote from Isiah: "We need to build a culture here, a foundation. The guy who poured the concrete never gets a chance to live in that beautiful house." Zeke knew his days were numbered and that someone else would have to tear up the awful foundation Zeke built. Remember the early days, when the most damage Isiah could do was to freeze out MJ and destroy the CBA? Until Walsh finally ran over this cat for the second time, it was beginning to look like Thomas had his sights set on the NBA too.


Anonymous said...

One hell of an opening story.

Anonymous said...

That opening story was great. I hate cats. And Isiah. He and Magic are gay...