On Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame Speech

by

I have a friend who kept an unusual hobby in college. Let’s call her Sarah.

Sarah was attractive, intelligent and had a warm, sunshiny personality that was impossible not to like. A gaggle of guys could be found chancing their arms for her attention at every party, dutifully waddling behind as she moved from room to room.

Sarah liked to page through tabloids and fashion mags in search of the celebrity cellulite which some talented photoshopper missed while prettying-up the stars. It wasn’t a vindictive act. She had no ill will toward Charlize Theron or her ordinary thighs. It was an act of self-affirmation. Sarah liked to remind herself that the pressure to become pin-up pretty was a scam. Regular flesh was fine.

During his Hall of Fame speech, Michael Jordan pinned up posters of himself to the wall. And then he unwittingly took a magic marker and began to diagram the deformities we’ve happily glossed over through the years. It too was an act of self-affirmation.

It was tacky and vitriolic and unnecessary. For many it was a critical discovery—the anagnorisis of basketball’s most enthralling three-part—into the character of Michael Jordan. The high-priest of plastic people, it turns out, passes gas. And sometimes loudly, and in tight quarters.

There is no doubt that Michael Jordan had a different aim. His intention, I suspect, was to mark his will to win as his single most defining characteristic, to lend that sentiment more weight than championships and MVP trophies. Champions and MVPs are, after all, only nearly peerless. They still keep some company. Jordan’s strategy was to relegate all that stuff to the footnotes of his mythology. Who else has that stuff in their footnotes? His myth—the myth that would swallow up all others—would be that when push came to shove, he always shoved a lot effin harder.

So strange that the king of last second heroics would miss so badly on this, his final attempt. No matter how much spin that scripted, staff writer spiel about limits, fears, illusions and various other nonsense puts on the ball, we’ll always hear those first 22 minutes clanking off the rim. We should have heard it coming a long time ago.

But maybe there is a moment of critical discovery in all this. Let’s put a little less elbow grease into the myth-making machinery that demigods are best players. And let’s pay a little more attention the next time a David Robinson comes through.

  • http://www.themilkcarton.com Tyler

    couldn’t have said the last sentence better myself. well put, and well written

  • Latin_D

    The real footnote in his legacy, Tim? This speech.

    As a fan I have nothing but gratefulness towards MJ. He gave me a lot: my love for this game, for this league, and many, _countless_ incredible memories. I owe him.

    I keep reading the posts popping up through the net about his speech, and somehow I get the feeling that people thought MJ owed them something better. He didn’t deliver the perfect, selfless speech we wanted from him. Instead, he was human and funny and flawed. Just as the Admiral was criticized for not caring about basketball enough, now Jordan is mocked for loving basketball (just a game, after all!) so much.

    Last night was about David, about John – and it was also about Michael. Let’s just allow him to have his night, and try not to pass judgment. I know it’s difficult when it comes to Michael Jordan, but we can only try.

  • BB

    Reeks of bitterness. You apotheosize D Rob’s career five times over, then pick on MJ’s HoF induction? Seven paragraphs on some speech you didn’t like?

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    BB,

    Maybe you’re right. But it’s not bitterness so much as disappointment.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    Latin_D,

    You’re point about Jordan’s speech being “human and funny and flawed” is true and I should have gave a better account of that. But I don’t think he is being mocked, and certainly not for loving basketball too much. That’s not how I heard the speech.

  • CGD

    I would argue that MJ DID OWE us something better. When athletes holds themselves out as existing on a higher plane of excellence, then it’s reasonable for fans to judge their actions at a higher standard. MJ, for as great as he was, made sure we knew it more so than any other athlete of his time.

  • Chris K.

    Jordan’s speech was something out of a psychological case study. This man has a serious problem with “beating people.” Not being excellent, achieving things, or even merely winning. But crushing the opponent, standing above him, and fulfilling his deep need to be recognized and adored by the masses (whom he secretly despises).

    I was embarrassed that the man who epitomizes basketball itself could be so deeply incomplete, immature, and neurotic.

    David Robinson and John Stockton hardly talked about themselves at all. To listen to their speeches, one would think they had nothing to do with their success, they were simply carried along on the backs of friends, coaches, family members, and teammates to where they are today.

    Of course, we know this is not true. That is what makes those men charming, humble, and classy.

    The ratio of the Robinson/Stockton speeches was about 10% Self: 90% Others.

    The ratio of the Jordan speech was about 90% Self: 10% Others.

    Every experience in Jordan’s life was about “beating people.” We can call it “overcoming adversity” or “beating the odds,” but it’s really much more shallow and sad than those simple platitudes.

    Jordan lived and still lives for recognition and adoration, that he is better than that other guy, whoever, wherever that guy is. Jordan doesn’t just need to win, he needs to beat the opponent in front of an audience and then have everyone involved say “Yes, Michael, you won, you’re the best. No one is better than you. (Can we all go home now?)”

    The contrast between Jordan and Robinson and Stockton was stark. Robinson and Stockton don’t need basketball anymore, if they ever truly did. They have the love of friends and family, they have deep, giving relationships they can fall back on. They all have a home to go back to

    What can Jordan fall back on? Where is his home, except the basketball court, a place of competition? He cannot recognize anyone as an equal because it would be too damaging psychologically, therefore he can’t have any true, deep relationships. (Jordan chose David Thompson as his sponsor, a man who had no direct relationship to Jordan, just so Jordan could take all the real credit himself and not have to recognize anyone for direct help.)

    Relationships involve humility. Homes are a place of rest and peace. Jordan is defined by a obsessive neurosis to compete and win, and he cannot live without conflict. His speech was nothing more than his listing for the audience everyone he had ever beaten in his life – from his brothers and sisters, to Leroy Smith (how strange was that, did he really want to be there?), to Dean Smith (didn’t want to start him), to Doug Collins (wanted to cut his minutes), to Jerry Krause, to John Stockton, to Bryon Russell.

    Jordan was an amazing player, probably the greatest ever, but his speech made me rethink the whole issue. If to be the best you have to be like Mike, I’d rather not. I’d rather live in Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood, or Mr. Stockton’s for that matter.

  • Gene Lee

    None of us can know what it is like to stand in MJ’s shoes, what it took to achieve what he has, what he had to overcome. MJ made it look easy, but during his speech, people learned just how hard it really was for him every step of the way.

    Calling him a jerk is the easy way out. Understanding him takes more work.

    Whatever he showed in his speech, whatever you want to call it, that’s what got MJ to where he is. I for one would not criticize.

  • quincyscott

    I think both Robinson and Jordan said irritating things during their acceptance speeches. These are athletes, not statesmen, and the occasion lends itself to grandiosity. Robinson is a wonderful person, but I think it inappropriate to use every public speech as an opportunity to witness. I may be alone on this, but I just think ones religion should not be used so heavy-handedly. Would people be okay Hakim Olojuwan trying to convert his listeners to Islam every time he gave a speech? Again, I have deepest respect for the Admiral, but his religiosity rubs me the wrong way.

    Jordan’s main flaw is also what drove him to win six titles. And it’s also what drove him to make two comebacks. And its also what drives him to speak about maybe playing again. And it’s also what drove him to play semipro baseball and now play celebrity golf and take it seriously. The man has a gigantic ego, thrives on crowd adulation. And does so to the point that I frankly find is unhealthy and unappealing. Remember when he won his first title–hugging the trophy and crying all over it? You would never see Robinson act that way in public. When he won, he shared the glory with teammates.

    To put it simply, we had the sincere pleasure of watching David Robinson grow up into a man that everyone in San Antonio loves and admires. I would not hesitate to encourage my own child to look up to this man, and frankly Robinson challenges me to be a better man. Michael Jordan, on the other hand, has still not grown up.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    Gene Lee,

    I’ve told friends that, in re-reading my post, I wish I had been a little more charitable. I was too harsh.

    But I’m reluctant to paint Jordan as the misunderstood outsider whom no one can understand. I won’t cast him as the victim. But seeking to be more charitable, and taking your comment at face value, I’d like to ask a sincere question: what more is there to understand? Is this just a case of guy who can’t turn it off?

  • JackCee

    Jordan, Jordan. The lovers can easily overlook the petty natre of the speach, the haters easily casitgate his huge ego….but look at the forum, the place, the reason…induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame. A time for some class and memories. Jordan took the time to remind everyone how little they are compated to him; how much better he is/was as a player and competitor. The singling out of his High School coach by saying he made a mistake “dude” at not starting him, and denigrating his teammate was, at best bad manners, at worst stingy and low class. I’ve always loved Jordan as a player even though he tormented my Lakers far too often. I’ll see him differently now….less class, more useless ego, petty and with a mean streak. Not the best of traits to exhibit at his induction. Jordan Scores!!!!! NOT

  • benitosunshine

    Public figures are subject to criticism, no matter how you look at it.
    As a die hard fan of MJ, even I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in his speech. This was the time for him to show his grace off the court, and display his supposed maturity as a player and a human being that we’ve seen in so many interviews and press conferences. But he missed on his final attempt, as this article portrays. Taking cheap shots at Bryon Russell? Calling out a high school player who got picked over you (in fact actually paying for him to come there)? Are you kidding me? Grow up guys, and grow up Mike. I was very disappointed, and I expected a majestic bowing out, worthy of the king of basketball for the past two decades. I will always hold MJ as my favorite ball player, but I can seperate ball skills from grace and poise as a person. And the two are needed to make a legend, something MJ failed on in his speech, in my opinion. I got to see an insecure side of Michael that I’ve never seen before. Good article, bad speech.

  • Nick (Italy)

    Chris K.,

    I totally agree with everything you wrote and you wrote it far better than I would be able to.

    quincyscott,

    I agree with that final remark: he has still not grown up.

    How many years have passed since Leroy Smith took “his” place on that varsity team? How many years since he has shown every single doubter that he was something very similar to the GOAT?

    Still, he can’t find peace. Every (supposed) offence to his greatness is still burning as it just happened.

    Man, get over it all. You are on the very top of the world, everyone’s recognizing your greatness and your genius. You won. There is no point in keeping on telling your H.S. coach that you were better than Leroy Smith. Don’t you think he already knows by himself?

    I think, as weird as it may seem, that MJ simply doesn’t like MJ. He needs other to tell him that he’s great, because he doesn’t love himself.

    It is not a question of huge ego. Someone with an huge ego wouldn’t screw up his speech like that, he would simply go out and give a perfect, humble and funny speech – btw, he would even wear a better suit.

    MJ looked like a teen boy that got beaten and swears that, once he grows up, he will kill those who offended him.

    Such a sad sight.

    Best,

    N

  • Chris

    I’m a basketball fan, I only really care about about what Jordan did on the court. That speech was about his desire on the court. As for David Robinson I’m appreciative of his great character because I am a Spurs fan; he has had a direct influence on the team culture. David was/is a good influence no doubt . But ninety percent of my interest in him is also because of what he did on the court. I wish he had longer to speak so that he may have talked about his basketball career on the court.

  • tim

    if your a champion you think differantly to other people,thats what makes you differant

    i liked the speech,it was replayed on sen radio station (aus) this morning and most people loved it

    i wish he played fro us.

  • diehard

    The writer of this article comes across as the nerd in school who is fed up with loosing all the time. I completely relate to not only his competitive nature but I find his stories inspirational.

    Men can be very competitive, athletes are extremely competitive. Vince Lombardi said, if its not about winning then why do they keep score.

    Jordan was just reliving all the little things others did to him, that motivated him more to be the best.

    He brought his friend from high school not to throw him under the bus but to let him be a part of the moment. I played high school sports, and I am still friends with a majority of the guys I played sports with, I am sure Michael is also…I wonder if the writer of this article played high school sports or if he plays sports now.

    You know some people when they get cut from a team, they could walk away from that sport forever I have seen it happen. He turned that into a motivating factor…he embraced the challenge. When I was cut from my high school team my parents told me the story of Michael Jordan getting cut…and how he went on to be the best…

    A lot of kids get cut in sports, how would you want them to react? Like Jordan or quit forever?

    When a doctor wouldn’t let him play, he argued just to be able to play…that is passion, that is inspirational. It wasn’t about money, it was about passion and wanting to play the game he loves.

    When he was playing baseball someone told him he couldn’t play, they could lock him down. That inspired him to come back…How is this a bad thing to let us know?

    His college coach did not choose him to be on the cover of sports illustrated, that fired him up to be better. HOW is that a bad thing…

    He started off his speech letting everyone know that it was his family who first help ignite his competitive nature his sister, his brothers his parents…BUT there were little things that happened along the way that made him want to be better.

    He looked at everything as a challenge and in the end he overcame them. But his message is that he used these circumstances as a motivation to be better not to walk away, not to quit, not to let these things get him down.

    He did not walk away from those that challenged him, but embraced it.

    You guys just don’t get it.

  • http://myspurslink.blogspot.com Robby

    I thinks MJ’s speech reflects on how highly competitive he is…… and that’s about it.
    The only problem is because of his great love for basketball, it’s looks real hard for him to stay away from the game…. because he loves challenges…

    If I could rewrite his story, I would erase his 2 seasons with the Wizards where he played with a team lacking in talent, that’s why he was not able to compete at a high level during those times..
    But then again his unbelievable talent is still evident even as he ages 43 points by a 40 year old how could we forget that!

  • BB

    Yeah, Tim, immediately after my comment, I suddenly realized how easily one can go from honest criticism into denigration. Or, I suppose, how easily one can read negativity into an honest piece of criticism. It’s hard (especially so on the internet?) to disagree with something without appearing judgmental or even combative. You’re right, it’s not bitterness, and it is an important speech. But I suppose really I just didn’t really see the need to bring in David Robinson as a counter-example to whatever bad qualities MJ represented in his speech.

    (Yes, I know it’s a Spurs blog)

  • http://tna.org Ed

    quincyscott,

    you obviously, don’t know anything about DRob. His faith defines him. You can’t separate the man from his faith.

    And I thought, this was still America the free. Why is it that anyone can shout – Allah Akbar! or Satan lives! but the moment someone mentions God or prayer, you people get nasty.

    Please open your mind. It’s people like you that makes this world so messed up. Love. Peace. Respect. Agree to disagree, ok?

  • Sean

    I agree with the comments that highlight the pettiness of Jordan’s speech. Can’t you just go out on top gracefully? Was any of it necessary?

    I don’t get it. The guy retired three times. We relived the best moments of his career already. Why on earth would he want us to remember him as the guy who couldn’t let go of those who slighted him?

    If anything, the speech hurt Jordan’s image in my mind. He may have been the guy who could hit the big shot, but he definitely didn’t come out looking like the bigger man.

    Tim is on point with the article and it looks like most of the pundits commenting don’t visit the site regularly anyway.

  • Krista

    quincyscott… David Robinson was not witnessing from the stage as much as he was just being himself. He is a born again Christian who lives it in every moment of his life. I don’t think he planned out when to bring up faith, rather it came naturally as he was speaking. As a born again Christian myself, I am thrilled to see someone on the highest stage who is not afraid to show and share their faith.

    As for Jordan’s speech… I never thought I’d feel sorry for Michael Jordan. But that speech made it quite obvious that he cannot move on. I feel for any person who cannot get past their “glory days” and find new glory days in what ever life throws their way as the years pass.

    He reminds me of the high school jocks who look back on high school as the best years of their life, and who seem depressed that they can never go back… and are never able to move forward.

  • Latin_D

    It’s funny, because after years of everybody begrudgingly acknowledging Jordan as the best, ever since he retired from the Wizards, he’s now regained his controversial self. I remember when he was in the Bulls, and everyone either loved him or hated him. It feels a bit like that again, doesn’t it? Detractors and supporters speaking up, fighting over his legacy.

    Maybe his speech was more effective than I thought.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/blog/ZBHN5RA7BE2W4VJ6LXXFKS6JP4 eronne

    Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech is still the biggest topic in basketball. And for the most part, the reviews were not positive. It really amazed me.

  • drew

    quincyscott, if Hakeem Olajuwon talked about Islam I would be fine. You only make this speech once in your life – David Robinson chose to talk about the thing that spoke most about who he is and how he achieved success.

    I think that can be applied to Michael Jordan too. Yes, it was egocentric. Yes, it was all about Jordan winning. But didn’t we know that already? Was this actually unpredictable? Jordan’s never been the one to campaign for cancer victims. He’s never been the one to raise awareness about extreme poverty. Michael Jordan’s life revolves around his triumph in basketball.

    This is why I respect David Robinson so much more as a person than MJ. Robinson is such a good person

  • quincyscott

    Both of these guys were incredible, and Jordan undoubtedly the king of his era. Stockton was great, too. If we have to have a hall of fame, these guys all belong there, no doubt about it. But I just hate to pin that “greatest of all time” moniker on anyone, especially when you are talking about a team sport. I mean, can anyone really say that Roger Federer is better than Pete Sampras? I would say it is impossible to know that for certain. Here we’re talking basketball–a team sport. How can you really say anyone is the best ever?

    I think I would feel on pretty comfortable ground if you asked me to list the ten best basketball players of all time. But crowning one is a waste of time, in my opinion. Guys like Jordan, Russel, Magic and Bryant, these guys of course have incredible talent, drive, confidence. Yes, they are special. You know what else? They are also incredibly lucky. Nobody wins a basketball championship by himself. Great as you may be, you have to be in the right place at the right time with the right mix of players and coaches. There are plenty of potential greats who did not have the good fortune to have these assets.

    I think Robinson got a lot closer to the truth of this with his speech. He talked of Duncan as the answered prayer. He spoke of the great coaches, players, and especially family who shaped him. He knows he is special–only a handful of men have ever had his physical gifts. But he also recognizes how much of his career success was out of his own hands, how achievement is as much a blessing as it is self determined.

    Halls of fame bestow a nice honor, and they allow fans to memorialize the great players. Nothing wrong with that. But I watch basketball because of the beauty of a great team. It’s why I prefer it to tennis! For me, placing a wreath of individual glory on a team member is like trying to force a round peg into a square hole. It just doesn’t fit right.

  • http://www.48minutesofhell.com Timothy Varner

    @BB: it’s a discussion, I’m happy for the challenges you’ve brought to the comment thread. I’ve said it before, but I appreciate that blogs are more collaborative than beat columns. I don’t mind passing through a little fire here and there. It pushes the conversation forward.

    @Latin_D: I grew up on Bulls basketball. I’m a Jordan fan. I’m happily with those who call him the greatest. This speech just hit me like a beneath his legacy punch to the gut.

    http://www.48minutesofhell.com/2009/02/27/on-johnny-red-kerr/

    @Krista: Ironically, we’re just as stuck on Jordan as he is on the thrill of being the best…

  • Jordan

    Quincyscott,

    not to beat a dead horse, but I think that having david talk about his faith is the only thing he could talk about.

    Yes, robinsons witnessing gets on peoples nerves all the time, but God is his driving force. If you want to understand why Robinson tries so hard or does anything he does, you look no farther than his faith. On a night where he is being honored greatly, it would be extremely poor taste to not give thanks to the Lord for the wonderful chance that He provided D-Rob.

    Agreeing with a previous poster, to ask Robinson to uris it about his faith

  • http://www.goodtimescomic.blogspot.com Jordan

    oops, accidentally hit the submit button…

    To ask Robinson to stow it regarding his faith would mean that you are asking every hall of fame inductee to shut up about any help he received along the way during his career. Jordan shouldn’t be allowed to talk about his driving force (himself) if Robinson shouldn’t be allowed to say something to the crowd about Jesus.

    Christianity is as much ingrained in Robinson as basketball is in Jordan. I am just thankful for Robinson having the willingness to get up there and state what he believes to be true. I would have no problem with Olajuwon publicly proclaiming that he believes Allah to be the driving force in his life.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Drew

    For me, the endings of Michael and David’s speeches provided the most interesting contrast. Jordan spoke of how the game of basketball has been his solace, refuge, and comfort. Robinson closed by saying he hoped that everyone could experience his joyful life of walking with God. One found his satisfaction in competition and basketball. The other found it in a relationship with God.

    When Jordan retired for the first time, a television interview captured something I will always remember. The reporter asked him, “Why he was retiring”? In the midst of dealing with his father’s death and trying to find the meaning of life, he responded, “I don’t know why I retired, I’m still searching.”

    It seems as if Jordan found his significance and meaning in the game of basketball/his will to win. His speech certainly demonstrated that. I can’t help but wonder if he is truly content, though. His speech seemed self-absorbed and hollow.

    Robinson has found his significance not in basketball but in what he called, “walking with God.” And, as a result of the joy he has experienced, he seems “others oriented”, wanting to care for others.

    Two different speeches. Two different perspectives. Jordan seemed consumed by self. Robinson’s life has demonstrated a consuming desire to care for others. Jordan appeared hollow. Robinson seemed very content.

  • Pingback: Jordan’s speech » By The Horns

  • Darla

    The men who have christ in their life appeared humble and content. Michael Jordan is proof that with all your success, without christ you will never be satisfied. MJ can have his awards, but he will never have peace. That brings me some joy after watching his terrible speech.

  • Sean

    One more point on the speech..

    Isn’t it bizarre that Jordan didn’t once send out condolences to the family of William Beck, Bobcat’s co-owner who died in a plane wreck that same day?

    I mean the guy was co-owner of the organization he worked for, it seemed like a big deal… maybe I’m looking too far into it, but it seems like another example where Michael needed the spotlight on himself.

  • Sean

    Then again, it’s probably hard to have relationships with people in your organization when you’re spending more time with your caddy…

  • KH

    The speech was bitter and bizarre if you can’t see that you are nothing but a blind Michael Jordan fan. He basically had a list of grievances and he methodically ticked off every one. There was little happiness in this speech at all. Quite sad really. 99% of people acknowledge he was the greatest ever and he still has a gigantic misplaced chip on his shoulder. Michael Jordan is not a happy man.

  • John h

    Listen Michael Jordan was a great basketball player. He’s just not that nice of person. The problem is our society puts too way much stock in people who can play a kids game. We as people need to grow up and see this for what it is. Remember, OJ simpson once had status similar to Jordan’s. Now look at him.

  • DK

    I respect Jim Brown even more now. Michael really doesn’t get it and he proved it to everyone on Friday night.

  • Nick Z

    I’m Chris K. Listen to my hypocrisy. Here is a list of Jordan’s flaws. Look at me. My analysis is the best… Yes Chris you may go home now. Please do.

  • BigBarn 09

    Wonder why he never mentioned all the guys who made him look like a fool on the baseball diamond? Nevermind.

  • monsoon

    If “nice guys finish last.”

    Meanest guys finish first.

  • JC

    Dizzy Dean famously said, “It ain’t bragging if you go out and do it.” So it is noteworthy that last Friday His Airness kept it strictly to basketball instead of including his other well-documented pastimes. If his intense competitiveness had helped him hit a curve ball or a 3 iron, he would have mentioned it.

    You are mortal, Mike. The kind only sycophants want to be like.

  • Big Dog Dave

    I agree with everyone who said that his speech was bitter and that it wasnt befitting of a man who means so much, not only to basketball, but to sport in general. However, when youre a good as him I bet it is hard to be humble.

    Did he need to call out the people he did? Probably not, but in the context of his speech it was appropriate. He was trying to show people that just because he’s MJ doesnt mean his entire life has been charmed. Jordan went through struggles in his life and career just like every other player in the league, but Jordan did it with the tag of greatness attached. Jordan did it with the whole world watching. People think just because he accomplished all that he did that he must be the happiest, most relaxed person on earth. How the hell do you think he go to be so good? By being driven, by being angry.

    Let’s look at the facts:

    Fact: Michael Jordan won 5 MVPs and led HIS team to 6 championships

    Fact: Michael Jordan is regarded by nearly everyone as the best basketball player of all time

    Fact: No-one dominated the spotlight and the game as much as he did, for as long as he did.

    While those three things certainly dont entitle him to act in any manner he pleases, it certainly entitles him to a little bit of rope when it comes to things like this.

  • Robert

    Listen hear you bloviating hypocrite, we all watch sports to see the best players and the best winners. Nobody watches to find out who the nicest guy is. And by all accounts Jordan is more than a decent guy in his private pursuits, he can’t be all that bad, his parents are true salt of the earth types.

    The NBA’s worldwide popularity blew up with Jordan, he always delivered a world class show when he was on the court.

    Who gives a flying you know what about his HOF speech, or him as a human being for that matter.

    Robinson, Sloan, and Stockton are all much more humble human beings and almost certainly more likeable people than Jordan. But no one ever tuned in just to see them play, the whole world tuned in to see Jordan.

    I might prefer to have dinner with Jordan once, and I would prefer to have any of the others as my friend, but as a fan or competitor for that matter, I want Jordan on my team everytime.

    While I enjoyed and was moved by all of their speeches, they were the typical average if not necessarily boring HOF induction speeches.

    Why would anyone have expected or wanted Jordan to give the same type of speech as everyone else, that would have been the real suprise and dissappointment. While I found myself somewhat uncomfortable watching, Jordan still delivered a singularly unique Jordanesque performance just like he did everday as a player.

    Finally, Jordan almost always said the right thing during his entire career, and he might have been the most interviewed athlete of our time, yet he never once misspoke. So maybe this was the perfect time to say what he always wanted to before but couldn’t or wouldn’t.

    So get over yourself and stop trying to put down someone because he is just too big for your liking or comprehension.

  • khmer

    It is pathetic for him to complain about $1000 ticket. Talking about how family members coming out of the wood work because of his fame and how he is paying for the damn tickets to those people he invited to the show.

    Give me a freaking break, why invite people and pay for them and then slam them on national TV?

    That to me is more disgusting than other comments because it is petty and those were innocent people. They did nothing to him direct or indirectly. They don’t deserve to be there and get slam on TV. What a an ahole!

  • pookachoo

    Shame. MJ’s speech in some respects mirrors many aspects of Hip Hop culture. All the props, and no class whatsoever. Childishness and immaturity, picking petty squables when there are more important issues going on. Sadly enough, there are many grown men, even in their 40′s who follow this ideal. True champions carry themselves with dignity, look at David Robinson as a good example. It was a Hall of Fame speech, not a press conference, not conversation over the dinner table, not at the bar with buddies. This is where professionalism has to show, and anyone who can’t get that has issues and would be a failure as a role model. The only thing MJ did for me personally was take away alot of the respect I had for him, and I was a die hard fan. Being petty only shows that you care what others think of you, a trait very common with children. I would have expected this crap from a rap star, but not from MJ. Shame. But what am I saying? This is America, where arrogance and commercialism, not class and dignity, take the cake. Hats off to David Robinson and John Stockton.

  • Phil

    “And let’s pay a little more attention the next time a David Robinson comes through.”

    Great advice! Unfortunately, we’re not following this advice because somehow Kevin Durant is underappreciated.

  • Michelle

    Leave him alone, he’s a human being, not a saint. He is a real person, stop trying to make him out to be some God. No one is perfect.

  • Chris K.

    I agree Michelle.

    The issue is that he consciously constructed the perfect image (along with the journalists who covered him and the companies who hired him) to become more popular and sell more shoes.

    It’s disappointing when something you were told (and believed) was perfect turns out to be so decidedly not.

    It makes me (for one) re-evaluate what “success” looks like. I think it looks more like David Robinson.

  • Fernando

    Great posts from all. All of you sound very intelligent and are very good writers. However, I somewhat doubt that many of you have played a sport at a professional level. Which means you have no idea what it takes to be a pro athlete. Especially not one at the level MJ reached. Leave the man alone. Why is it so bad that his life is basketball? That’s it’s not about family and friends? Who are you to judge what a person should value in THEIR life. MJ’s life revolves around basketball and not his family and friends. So what? As well written as some of these posts are, some of the actual content is full of ignorance. I can’t help but compare some of these comments to when I tell people that I don’t ever want to have kids because I want to enjoy life to it’s fullest, without having to take care of a little one. I LOVE kids…but I don’t want one. It’s just funny because I’ve been in circles where no one knows I feel this way and another person who expresses they don’t want kids for the same reason, that person then walks away and everyone can’t beleive how selfish and shallow and cold that person is. “Can you beleive it?! He doesn’t want kids because he wants to enjoy doing things in life without being burdened by a child!! How selfish!!” This is how everyone judging Michael for his speach sound. He is no less a man because he doesn’t thank everyone and their mother. He is Michael Jordan because he had a work ethic we all wish we had, and because he didn’t give up when he was told he wasn’t good enough. He stepped up to every challenge and not only defeated the challenge…but demolished it. So his speach wasn’t full of thank yous and religious talk and talk about his family and kids…so what? Basketball was his love, his life…who are you to judge him for that?

  • DukeLaw

    Inspirational to put down your kids? To mock your brothers for being short?

    If that’s what it takes to be “great” good for MJ, but don’t pretend that it also allows us to see what kind of person MJ is. A great bballer, a mediocre human being.

  • ChillFAN

    The main post of this thread is TOO HARD on Michael Jordan and goes overboard in its criticism of a speech few people care about. He honestly was not trying to insult anyone.

    There have been many, but currently there is no disputing who is the best basketball player EVER.

    I actually think Michael thought he was revealing some secret of success, after thinking, what can I share with people? What do I have that will make the world a better place?…

    And this was just the speech he came up with.