Today’s #TBT Sports Blog rewinds the calendar back to 2009 and recalls my post on NBA icon Michael Jordan’s awkward Basketball Hall of Fame speech.
Jordan retired as arguably basketball’s G.O.A.T. or greatest of all-time. But, his regrettable words during his enshrinement speech usurped what otherwise could have been an incredible evening: to reminisce about his extraordinary accomplishments, acknowledge friends and former foes and exhibit genuine gratefulness to those who helped make him a global star.
Watch his speech from that evening and then read my commentary on “Air” Jordan who grounded himself on what should have been a remarkable night.
Here ya go…
“…On that strange night in September 2009 in Springfield, MA, his tears were definitely genuine.
At first, he appeared poised, once again, to soar above all mere mortals in the basketball world.
However, the monumental chip on Michael Jordan’s shoulder loomed larger than any words 23 uttered during his Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
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On a special night when MJ could have perpetuated his larger than life legacy, he tethered himself to the induction ceremony’s podium in a self made pair of cement Air Jordans.
This iconic Hall of Fame athlete should have demonstrated gratefulness and appreciation for the people whose paths he crossed during his unprecedented, storied career.
However, he only showed a deep rooted angst and a surprising, agitated spirit.
Sadly, I will always remember Jordan’s induction speech as one of the worst moments in recent sports history.
Jordan’s inexplicable words sullied his outer-worldly reputation as one of generation’s greatest overall athletes.
His speech reduced a man viewed larger than life to a small minded, petty, retired athlete who had something to prove.
Jordan unnecessarily took shots at vanquished opponents and coaches when none were necessary.
Jordan pontificated about his profound competitiveness when no one ever questioned it.
Jordan punctuated his speech with selfish, snarky remarks when he should have followed the new Hall of Famers previously inducted that evening with self-less comments filled with grace and heartfelt thanks.
The audience laughed awkwardly at MJ’s snide comments and applauded dutifully when 23 exited the dais.
Sure, perhaps the best player on the planet was acknowledged and rightfully so. However, a once adoring basketball world was left to wonder what Michael still wanted to prove.
In the eyes of many that evening, Air Jordan’s hubris grounded himself!
However, here’s hoping that the next time 23 takes a stage somewhere, Michael leaves the monumental chip in the locker room or his posh Florida mansion he now shares with his beautiful wife.
A less self-absorbed Michael Jordan will allow him to soar once again to basketball greatness – un-tethered and unencumbered.”
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!