Michael Jordan Hall of Fame speech reviewPosted by Inside Hoops
The AP reports: From the coach who cut him to the players who disrespected him, Michael Jordan never forgot a slight. Not even on the night he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. Jordan’s thank you list went well beyond friends and family, including any doubters who provided him the inspiration to become a better player — perhaps the greatest one ever. “You guys, I must say thank you very much for giving me that motivation that I definitely needed,” Jordan said.
The AP continues: Jordan cried before beginning his acceptance speech, then entertained the crowd with memories of any slights that sent him on his way to basketball’s birthplace: –The coach who cut him from the varsity as a North Carolina schoolboy. “I wanted to make sure you understood: You made a mistake, dude.” … –Isiah Thomas, who allegedly orchestrated a “freezeout” of Jordan in his first All-Star game. “I wanted to prove to you, Magic (Johnson), Larry (Bird), George (Gervin), everybody that I deserved (to be there) just as much as anybody else, and I hope over the period of my career I’ve done that without a doubt.” … –Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy — Jordan called him Pat Riley’s “little guy” — who accused Jordan of “conning” players by acting friendly toward them, then attacking them in games.
Yahoo reports: Jordan wandered through an unfocused and uninspired speech at Symphony Hall, disparaging people who had little to do with his career, like Jeff Van Gundy and Bryon Russell. He ignored people who had so much to do with it, like his personal trainer, Tim Grover. This had been a moving and inspirational night for the NBA – one of its best ceremonies ever – and five minutes into Jordan’s speech it began to spiral into something else. Something unworthy of Jordan’s stature, something beneath him. Jordan spent more time pointlessly admonishing Van Gundy and Russell for crossing him with taunts a dozen years ago than he did singling out his three children. When he finally acknowledged his family, Jordan blurted, in part, to them, “I wouldn’t want to be you guys.”
Yahoo continues: No one ever feels sorry for Isiah Thomas, but Jordan tsk-tsked him and George Gervin and Magic Johnson for the 1985 All-Star game “freeze-out.” Jordan was a rookie, and the older stars decided to isolate him. It was a long time ago, and he obliterated them all for six NBA championships and five MVP trophies. Isiah and the Ice Man looked stunned, as intimidated 50 feet from the stage, as they might have been on the basketball court. The cheering and laughter egged Jordan on, but this was no public service for him. Just because he was smiling didn’t mean this speech hadn’t dissolved into a downright vicious volley.