And it is the expectations more than anything that have haunted him. It is the expectations that he must get away from. And until he gets out of Washington, away from the Wizards organization, away from the aura of Jordan's words, the hell he's living in will eat away at his soul more than any insensitive inaccuracies MJ could spit at him.
Which brings us back to Tyson Chandler. As his dunk with 5:12 left in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's game brought the Bulls back from 16, there were thoughts of where Kwame might be? If he's watching the game? Then what he sees? What he's thinking? What's traveling through his mind? The image is so blurred now, but still the exact opposite. Same age, same profession, same young man different life.
"We're not going to get into specifics ... " were Grunfeld's words that sang like a soundtrack coming from his body when asked about the details surrounding Kwame's latest mini-series. Which means that just as he's looking to get Brown out of a Wizards uniform, he could be looking at getting Tyson into one. Same age, same profession ... same free-agent market.
But until that day comes, until we see Kwame Brown in another uniform, in another place, another city, until he's given another life, until he gets himself up off of that office floor, the specifics will be speculation. Speculation that he doesn't have what it takes to be "the Man" he's supposed to be in the NBA. The man who, in reality, was chosen because he had more "promise" than Tyson Chandler.
In reality that's supposed to be Kwame Brown out there increasing his market value, helping his team avoid fishing trips, trying to be above the "midlevel" conversation of players whose contracts will dominate the talks during the collective bargaining battle this summer, making another, more accurate name for himself. In reality, he's supposed to be on the court showing us all who he really is.
In reality, he's not.
Scoop Jackson is an award-winning journalist who has covered sports and culture for more than 15 years. He is a former editor of Slam, XXL, Hoop and Inside Stuff magazines; and the author of "Sole Provider: 30 Years of NIKE Basketball," "Battlegrounds: America's Street Poets Called Ballers" and "LeBron James: the Chambers of Fear." He resides in Chicago with his wife and two kids. You can e-mail Scoop here.