NEW YORK — Two years after Michael Jordan purchased the Charlotte Bobcats, they have suffered the worst season in the history of the NBA by going 7-59 after losing their final 23 regular-season games.
The Bobcats managed only a .106 winning percentage in a campaign that was cut from 82 to 66 games by a money dispute between club owners and players last year.
That was worse than the 65-year-old NBA’s old futility mark, the 9-73 season by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers that produced a .110 win percentage.
“The season itself was a long haul for all of us, upstairs and downstairs,” Bobcats coach Paul Silas said.
“Being the worst team in the history of the game is not something you cherish.”
Jordan, a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, was the first former player to become a majority owner in the NBA, spending $275 million for the Bobcats in 2010.
Jordan won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and led the 1992 US Olympic gold medal “Dream Team” to a historic championship run, but has been unable to duplicate his success as an executive or owner.
He struggled during a tenure with the Washington Wizards, who this year were the second-worst team in the NBA at 20-46, and has seen the Bobcats, an expansion squad created in 2004, struggle to gain their footing in the NBA.
This season the humiliation and humbling moments have come often.
The Bobcats did not win after March 17 even though they did not clinch the all-time NBA weakest win percentage until a season-ending 104-84 home loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Charlotte lost 22 games, one-third of the entire season’s worth, by 20 or more points. Nine of the defeats were by 20 or more points.
Gerald Henderson, who led the Bobcats with 15.1 points a game and was third in rebounds with 4.1 a game, addressed the home arena supporters before the game and vowed improvement for next season.
“I know it has been a tough year,” Henderson said. “We will be working all summer to turn this thing around.”
The Bobcats were outscored by an average of 13.9 points a game, second-worst among lopsided NBA seasons, ranking only ahead of the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks who were outscored by 15.2 points a game.
Opponents grabbed six more rebounds a game than the Bobcats on average and passed out 3.2 more assists while making 1.6 more steals and 1.0 fewer turnovers a game and shooting 47.5 percent compared to Charlotte hitting 41.4 percent from the field.