While I attended the University of North Carolina, Brendan Haywood was our center. I recall a game against Weber State in the 1999 NCAA Tournament, where Brendan Haywood had 1 point and 0 rebounds. This game was not a reflection of his talent level, because he is one of the only players to ever have a triple-double at Carolina. Also, Brendan Haywood is currently the record holder in blocks for Carolina.
Haywood was drafted by the Orlando Magic, and traded to the Washington Wizards in 2001. During this time, Michael Jordan was in the front office for the Wizards. I like to think of this time as the beginning of MJ’s mentorship with Brendan. Brendan was already a solid player at 7’0” 266 lbs. However, after a few years in the league and under MJ’s watch, Brendan became a better player.
Fast forward to 2012, during the offseason Brendan Haywood signed with the Charlotte Bobcats where MJ is the owner. Brendan Haywood is the only player on the Bobcats’ roster with a championship ring; one that he earned in 2011 while playing for the Dallas Mavericks. Brendan is a veteran player who will be asked to provide some sort of leadership to a young Bobcats team. Michael Jordan and Brendan Haywood have a different relationship now. MJ is no longer the mentor. Now, MJ is coming to Haywood for help to hold down the post. The Bobcats need for Brendan to rebound, block shots, and defend. The scoring will come from Ramon Sessions, Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Jeffery Taylor may surprise many of us with his ability score, as well.