Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oh Snap! Jordan Roasts His Way to Hall of Fame

Michael Jordan was officially inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night. What should have been a fairly anti-climactic moment after all of the dazzling plays and thrilling victories he provided over his years in Chicago, was actually one of the most entertaining induction speeches I have ever heard.

If you thought Michael could trash talk on the court, he showed he still had that part of his game left when he brought some "A" material with him up to the stage. After wiping away the tears upon stepping to the podium to a standing ovation, he started a little blue when discussing his choice of former NC State player, David Thompson, to introduce him, "I shocked the shit out of him." I don't know if ESPN didn't think they needed a delay, someone was asleep at the switch, or they figured that Michael Jordan should be able to say whatever the hell he wants.

He then cleaned it up and moved on to skewering just about anybody that ever tried to stand in his way, or defeat him in any way. He took his biggest shots at at his former GM, Jerry Krause. As he talked about he Bulls, he acknowledged Jerry Reinsdorf and Phil Jackson, adding, "Jerry Krause is not here, obviously, I don't know who would have invited him... I didn't."

This was in response to the report that Jerry Krause announced that he would not be attending Jordan's Hall of Fame induction on principle because Tex Winter is not enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Now, I also think that Tex Winter should be in the Hall of Fame, but that is not a reason for snubbing the most important player on the teams he put together. That was one last "f--- you" to Jordan after years of butting heads in Chicago.

Naturally, Jordan was not about to let Krause get the last word in, "He said organizations win championships, I said I didn't see organizations play with the flu in Utah." He went on to add, "At the end of the day the players still gotta go out there and guys gotta pay us, but I still gotta go out there and play."

I've seen a couple of people have a problem with Jordan's tone in the speech, this guy thinks Jordan behaved like clown in calling out the folks who fueled his competitive fire. Adjectives describing Jordan thrown around on Twitter included, cocky, arrogant, and conceited. He was called a jerk, a dick, an asshole, and a trash-talking punk.

Yeah, Michael Jordan is kind of a dick. He was, by all accounts, the most competitive dick that has ever lived. He is the most talented dick I've ever seen play basketball. He is a funny and charismatic dick that knows how to hide his dickishness when called for. Most importantly, he is a dick that brought Chicago six championships.

CCD, at Waxpaperbeercup, called attention to a post on Ghost of Paul Noce that describes how big "The Shot" over Craig Ehlo in Game 5 of the 1989 opening round of the playoffs was in the history of Chicago Bulls basketball and the city itself.

"After 1991, the Chicago Bulls always had options late in games.

Before 1991, only one man took the shot. Everybody in Richfield Coliseum, the United States, and Dooley household knew that Michael was getting the ball.

After the inbounds play, Jordan was met by two defenders in front. As he jumped at the free throw line, one more would come from the back. As the ball went through the net, the defenders went limp.

In one fell swoop, the Chicago Bulls went from an unmanageable headcase of unfiltered talent to a budding championship squad with an leader that wouldn't be denied.

The moment changed Jordan's confidence. It elevated his team's confidence in him. It was the start of the Chicago Bulls dynasty."
Prior to Jordan's reign in the 90's, Chicago had only the Bears one-hit-wonder season of 1985 to look to in the sports world. Jordan's kick-starting of the dynasty with that shot in Cleveland gave Chicago a confidence in the sports world it had never had in my lifetime, and has been unable to regain back since.

From that time on, Jordan seemed able to simply will a team to victory. If you are that much better than your competition, you have probably earned the right to be be a bit of a dick. Of course, I probably only say that because he is Chicago's dick.

As he said to Tex Winter when reminded that there is no 'I' in 'team', "There is no 'I' in 'team', but there is an 'I' in 'win.'''

Thanks, Michael. Congratulations on your well-deserved enshrinement. And way to put that little prick, Isaiah Thomas in his place too.


The intro of Michael and his speech in full is below broken up into 3 sections. It is well worth the time if you haven't seen it yet:


Matt Clapp said...

Awesome post. Agree 100%. I can't believe all the crap people are spewing about it. I love the honesty. This is who he has always been and why he's the best ever. You need his "cocky", "arrogant" attitude to win 6 championships and 5 MVPs. His competitive mindset is what separates him from everybody else. And he was pretty talented on top of that of course :).

Aisle 424 said...

I know that if this same exact speech was given by someone like Rickey Henderson or Barry Bonds, I would have been throwing shoes at my television, so I get the backlash. I just don't care.

Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player ever so I will forgive him his ego and lack of decorum. Plus, the audience seemed to find the comments pretty funny. Its not like he was bashing people with crickets in the background. That leads me to believe that Jordan was speaking some truth up there.

I'm just so glad I was able to see him play a few times while he was in Chicago.

Adam said...

I agree to the point that Michael Jordan acting all humble out there would have been the most disingenuous act the world had ever seen. I also think people made too big of a stink about the things he was saying, always assuming the most petty interpretations of everything he said. To some extent, I though MJ was trying to give context to the controversies in his career more than get vindication. I think he genuinely was expressing thanks to the people who dogged him, because it drove him to be better. Anyone who ever watched MJ knew that he drew his motivation from disrespect more than any other competitor in the history of competitions.

But I also felt like that stuff comprised too much of his speech. The thought I had during it all was, "Dang, he's STILL competing. He's still competing at the PODIUM! Of the HOF!!"

But I'm guessing for a lot of people, this was the first and last Basketball HOF speech to ever grace their television screens. That was the case for me. The Basketball HOF is just not that big of a deal. Jordan's speech is pretty much its crowning moment. He did earn the right to say what he wanted, but it really could have used a bit more class.

My opinion of him hasn't changed. He's the greatest. But I don't think he'll feel truly humbled until he can no longer play and is no longer globally famous and revered. The shine is still very much on the apple.

Aisle 424 said...

AK, well said. He WAS still competing, and that is exactly why I loved it. He went up there and was himself, good or bad.

You're also right that this was probably the most viewed NBA HOF speech ever. Hell, Jordan even made note of THAT in the speech when he pointed out the tickets went up to $1000 each this year instead of the normal $200.

Babe Ruth was never humble until he died and Jordan is right there with the Babe in stature in his sport. I have no problems with that, but I respect those who may feel otherwise.

hey_sue said...

Thanks for posting this, since I missed it last night.

Jordan doesn't need to be humble. He is the man and knows it and there is nothing wrong with long as he can back it up and he truly has.

Anonymous said...

Michael Jordan was the most dominant basketball player I've ever seen. But he was not playing when he made the speech, he was just talking. And his speech was petty and vindictive, making him look like another has-been who can't get to terms with the fact that he's 45 and retired.

PD: Krause has been snubbing the HoF for years now over Winter, it's nothing new.

Aisle 424 said...


I still think anything else would have been disingenuous from Michael. This is who he is. He is a trash-talking, competitive person who is driven by his need to be the best.

I find it refreshing that he owns it, and as a fan, I loved hearing him shred most of the people he shredded, and tweak the ones he loved.

dzupiris said...

Thoughts on Michael Jordan's Hall of Fame speech
Remembering Michael Jordan

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