Eddie Jordan was fired just a week ago. On the road at the time, I found out the news via email from Jake The Snake and began to hack out a post, The End of the Eddie Jordan Era: Say Goodbye to the Fall Guy.
Like many, I was surprised, but not necessarily shocked. It wasn’t until that night, as I sat in the Superdome for a great Monday night showdown between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers, full of raw oysters, crab legs and Ketel-tonics, that it really hit me.
“Sh*t!,” I randomly said aloud. (well, random to those around, but not to me)
“What’s wrong….what happened?,” my dad quickly replied.
“Eddie Jordan has been fired………and the Wizards suck.” (we’d already discussed the axing in detail, so the topic was not new)
What I previously wrote about Eddie Jordan didn’t come close, in my mind, to doing justice to the fact that the guy who brought significant, non-8th-seed-against-Michael-Jordan, playoff action to DC in my lifetime, is now gone.
So, I researched and I wrote and I researched and I wrote….what was supposed to be a brief synopsis of Jordan’s career path became much too long to be supplemented by the below, web highlight bullets of Eddie Jordan’s firing…..yea, I know, timely…..I present them nonetheless as a prelude of a post to come.
- Eddie Jordan began his Monday morning by handing out holiday turkeys to the poor. Before 9 a.m., he was among the unemployed……Jordan had only a collection of hobbled and underachieving veterans and slowly developing young players at his disposal. He drew strong efforts from his players, but he just couldn’t find a way to win…….Grunfeld cited the team’s poor execution on defense and inability to close games as a big reasons for the change. He didn’t blame Jordan completely for the woeful start, but he said he is confident he made the right decision. [Wizards' coach Jordan fired - Mike Jones, Washington Times]
- I can’t say the move is a total surprise, but I don’t believe the Wizards’ woes are Eddie’s fault. A year after the finest coaching job of his career, he again got delt a bad hand. [Jordan out, Tapscott in, for now - Mike Jones, Wizards Outlet]
- Eddie Jordan is the local boy who made good. He’s a Washingtonian, smart and classy, exactly the man you want fronting your outfit. And on top of all of it, he breathed life into a stone-cold loser, a team so bad for so long it appeared cursed. No, Jordan didn’t lead the Wizards to a championship. But he coached an exciting brand of basketball. [Two Good Men, One Tough Spot - Michael Wilbon, Washington Post]
- The firing of Eddie Jordan as coach of the Wizards was undeserved. The back-to-the-’90s move was implemented after the shell of a team stumbled to a 1-10 start. [A finish Eddie didn't deserve - Tom Knott, Washington Times]
- Grunfeld’s issue, he said, wasn’t with the injuries or the roster, which is filled with players Grunfeld acquired – center Etan Thomas being the lone exception, although Grunfeld in 2004 re-signed Thomas to a six-year, $38 million contract. Instead, Grunfeld said he believed a different philosophy would better suit the Wizards. [Taking the fall - Mike Jones, Washington Times]
- Grunfeld pointed to the team’s defensive struggles — they rank among worst in the league in points allowed and field goal percentage allowed — as a big reason for the need for change. [Reaction from Verizon Center - Mike Jones, Wizards Outlet]
- [Eddie Jordan's] brilliance, however, did not translate defensively. As disciplined and effective as Washington was on offense, it was equally as disorganized and mediocre on defense. Whether in halfcourt or transition, opponents rarely struggled to score against a Washington team that appeared to have the size and skill to be stingier. [Lack of defensive focus spelled end for latest Jordan era in Washington - Chris Mannix, CNNSI.com]
- Jordan implored the Wizards to defend. He begged and cajoled, and he hired assistant Randy Ayers to help him. But persuading NBA players to defend just might be the hardest job in sports. [Defensive Indifference Proves Costly - Sally Jenkins, Washington Post]
- But gosh-dang-it, Eddie Jordan still deserves some appreciation during his swan song. He brought an air of respectability and professionalism to a franchise desperately seeking it. For that, he should be commended. [Appreciate Eddie Jordan, even if you wanted him gone - Pradamaster, Bullets Forever]
- Jordan, meanwhile, the third-winningest coach in franchise history, left Verizon Center quietly. He was not available to reporters and did not return phone calls. [Wizards Fire Jordan After Rough Start - Ivan Carter, Washington Post]
- “The team is 1-10, not the coaching staff. Next question…..As players you take the responsibility for going out there and getting the job done and we didn’t get it done. Unfortunately they got rid of coach and we have to take it from there.” -Antawn Jamison
- “Coach Jordan will be a lifelong friend and someone I communicate with for the rest of my life. To see him go, that was tough. That’s why I didn’t talk yesterday because it hurt…..” -Caron Butler
- “I’m always going to be thankful to Eddie because he put the ball in my hands when I was an unproven 20-year old and he let me be me. Not only did he make me an all-star, he made me an all-league player and a global icon.” -Gilbert Arenas
- These players got Eddie fired, whether Eddie deserved it or not. The players should see this as a personal failure of theirs. Jamison seems to get that. I hope the other players do, too. [The Wizards coaching change presser - Spence, DC Pro Sports Report]
- “I’m amazed, I got fired after 10 games, too. It’s the same start, and I had ton of injuries, and it’s amazing…..And Eddie’s been a terrific coach. No way the Wizards should have made it to the playoffs last year…..And Eddie got that team to the playoffs and they just forgot about it.” -Doc Rivers
- “It’s very disappointing, to do what he did last year, where you could’ve made an easy argument he should’ve been coach of the year. To come in this year with no Gilbert Arenas, no Brendan Haywood, a hurt Antonio Daniels, a banged-up DeShawn Stevenson. It wasn’t like they were losing by 40 points a game, so he was doing a hell of a job and it’s very, very disappointing that he won’t be able to finish out what he started.” -Lawrence Frank
- Thanks to Hoop magazine, I weasled my way into several closed sessions of the Rookie Transition Program in 2002. All kinds of people spoke, from Bill Russell to Kenny Smith. But nobody was half as powerful, memorable, or on point as Eddie Jordan. He has unusual eyes. They’re kind of delicate, but also, I learned that day, fiery at times. [Two Reasons I'm Surprised Eddie Jordan Was Fired - Henry Abbott, True Hoop]
- I think I’m going to rest up all my typing injuries and hope I do well in the lottery blog draft next season. I’m gonna sit in my room listening to Green Day’s “Time Of Your Life” while watching a Powerpoint slideshow of Eddie Jordan & Gilbert Arenas photos. I could be awhile. [Shutting It Down - White President, We're Off To See The Wizards]
- Eddie’s legacy is one of consistency and playoff appearances. He was never able to get this team over the hump, but he’ll be remembered more for the good he did for this franchise. He’s a good man, a solid coach and a great Washingtonian, but it was time to move in a new direction. [Kogod Q&A: Eddie Jordan Is Nevermore, Mr. Irrelevant]
- Jordan was once a hotly recruited offensive genius, supposedly the architect of the Nets’ high-scoring offense when they made the Finals. Those who have watched the Wiz closely over the years have learned to question this reputation, but the Gil-less proficiency had done much to remind us all that yes, this man can coach. However, this team is treading water, maybe through no fault of Jordan’s. I hate to say it, but this Wizards team is fatally flawed with or without Eddie to kick around. [The Firing of Eddie Jordan vs. P.J. Carlesimo, a Lesson in Contrast - Bethlehem Shoals, The Sporting Blog]
[photo source: flickr/Keith Allison]