Micheal Jordan, the king of basketball as well as golf fanatic, his speech in Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. flapped against people’s heart in a uncomfortable way.
An article written by Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton:
Michael Jordan, legendary superstar of the Chicago Bulls, slinks off into the shadows to live the rest of his life.
Left behind are amazing feats as an NBA star. Left behind too, an awful speech at the podium in what should have been a night to cap off his basketball career.
NBA teams are preparing to open preseason camps next week. Not fast enough for me and fans around the country. Not quick enough to wash away the stain of what should have been a glorious night, the Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies in Springfield, Massachusettes, birthplace of the game.
MJ, Air Jordan, His Airness was honored with other hoop greats on the night the stars came out. On an evening when San Antonio star David Robinson talked about being a Midshipman at Navy, and the honor to serve his country, Jordan did something different.
On an evening when longtime guard and now Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan talked about a career, a life, the love of basketball, and the loss of his love, his wife to cancer, MJ went off on the little people.
The night to honor the honest little guy John Stockton, who went from tiny Gonzaga to Salt Lake City to induction in Springfield. He was humbled.
But the ex-Bull was humiliating to listen too.
Michael Jordan was part of trifecta of players who arrived together, and helped save the NBA. Financial ruin, drugs and a boring style had taken over pro basketball. Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson revolutionized the game, brought it flare, personality, and athleticism
The night at the podium should have been cast with remembrances of Jordan winning the NBA trophy and lying on the floor weeping, remembering his late father.
It was the Bulls star kissing the MVP trophy. Him hugging Scotty Pippen. A photo with his legendary coach Phil Jackson, smoking cigars.
It was the crossover dribble, the thundering slam dunks, and sizzling hot three point shots, the legendary steals and fast breaks going the other way.
Michael Jordan’s nights should have been remembered. The 69-point outburst against Cleveland; 63 in the playoff loss to Bird and Boston; 55-against the Suns. 13-shots in a row that fell in one playoff game. On and On.
It should have been a special night, but it wasn’t.
Michael Jordan turned the party into bitch session, railing against all those who wronged him.
Longtime Bulls GM Jerry Kraus, not invited to the festiiities at the Hall, took the brunt of the heat. Kraus made the comment “organizations win titles, not individuals.”
Jordan retaliated during his speech. “Did the organization score 63 in the playoff game? Did the organization play with a 103-degree fever in Utah? Did the organization play with a stress fracture of a foot?,” he asked.
He scorned the Portland Trailblazers who, needing a big man, bypassed him with the second pick in the draft, taking Sam Bowie instead.
The Bulls superstar went after a JV coach who cut him from a 10th grade team because he was too clumsy. He mocked Utah guard Byron Russell, who had popped off, by challenging him defensively.
The player used the podium to reflect on all those who insulted him over the years, saying it inspired him to greatness.
As long as Jordan was telling it like it was, he should have told us too about the five-year illicit relationship that cost him his 17-year marriage, and the massive lawsuit that followed.
He should have spoken about his gambling additions, debts and losses in casinos in Atlanttic City and Las Vegas, and on golf course here, there and everywhere.
Wished he could have cast more light on his miserable failure as the general manager of the Washington Wizards, and his incompetency as the absentee leader of the woeful Charlotte Bobcats.
I guess they don’t list those things on his personal stat sheet.
It was petty, it was unprofessional, it was dishonor on a night when so many other quality people were being toasted. He instead roasted everyone.
Watch me play, buy my shoes, remember my greatness. Once upon a time yes, now, no more.
He could have been gracious. He was classless. A Hall of Fame night became a Hall of Shame speech.
“Be Like Mike” was the catch phrase during those ad campaigns in the glory days. I doubt anyone wants to “Be Like Mike” now.