Michael Jordan Gets Bitter During Acceptance Speech

Like Mike: To be or not to be

by Bruce Banter of Playahata.com

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michael-jordan-225There was once a commercial that ran on all of the TV stations encouraging children to “Be Like Mike”, in other words make MJ your role model. I balked at that reference cause I was aware of Jordan’s apolitical public posturing. For example his refusal to support Harvey Gantt over a racist like Senator Jesse Helms in the North Carolina Senate race. Jordan said “Republicans buy Nikes too” (yuck).

Gantt (twice) against Jesse Helms, sought the endorsment of former UNC star Michael Jordan to no avail. Jordan was rumored to have endorsed Gantt after Helms died. I also never got over MJ’s comment that he doesn’t live in Los Angeles when asked about the awful Rodney King beating and ensuing riots but I got some of that Jim Brown in me.Now I am not saying all great athletes have to be like Muhamad Ali but I am saying that total silence is a weak route to take to maintain popularity.

Anyway the talk that Jordan is a bitter man resurfaced yesterday as he was inducted into the half of fame. We learned bitterness motivated him on the court and drove him to be the phenomenal player he was on the court. Many said he is still bitter and petty,those journalist used the press conference as proof that he is and others just ignored what happened and highlighted the good stuff they heard. You have two links that discuss his farewell speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Click on both and make a choice about what is more real to you.
Link 1  http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-jordanhall091209&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Link 2 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/basketball/air-jordan-reaches-springfield-plateau/article1285124/

-Bruce Banter
P.S. Hey Mike, Harvey Gantt doesn’t want the endorsement now-LOL.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — When it’s your party, you can cry if you want to, and you also can embarrass yourself if you want to. Just ask Michael Jordan, who spent his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night doing his version of dancing naked on a coffee table with a lamp shade on his head.

What was that?

Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. It rivaled anything you can name through the decades as the most brutal Hall of Fame acceptance speech ever. Soon after receiving a standing ovation of 73 seconds from a packed and adoring house at Springfield Symphony Hall, he went from sobbing to reflective to vicious.

I mean, where is Sandman (you know, that guy who yanks terrible acts off the stage at the Apollo Theatre) when you need him?

It was this brutal Friday night: Anybody who bothered Jordan mentally, physically or spiritually in hoops during his 46 years was assassinated with his tongue. The coach who cut him from his high school team in Wilmington, N.C. Buzz Peterson, who was named high school player of the year in North Carolina over Jordan. His archenemy with the Chicago Bulls, Jerry Krause. Several NBA coaches who worked for his teams and against his teams. Doubting media types. Opposing players Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, George Gervin, John Starks and Byron Russell.

Oh, and Jordan even gave a gentle whack to the knees to Dean Smith. According to Jordan, he still is miffed that his former head coach at North Carolina told Sports Illustrated in 1981 to go with four Tar Heel starters on its cover instead five, which would have included the freshman Jordan.

If that wasn’t enough, Jordan looked at his two sons and daughter, shrugged and then said, “You guys have a heavy burden. I wouldn’t want to be you guys.”

Nice touch, Michael. So was this: With youngsters watching back home during this prime time telecast, Jordan turned to David Thompson nearby and said, “I know I shocked the (bleep) out of you.” He was referring to Thompson’s likely reaction after he received Jordan’s call to be his presenter for the event. Thompson is a fabled alumnus of North Carolina rival North Carolina State.



In other words, it was a blessing that those who decide such things blew it this time. Jordan’s meltdown aside, they needed one ceremony for the only person that folks really cared about among this year’s class, and they needed another for those deserving but thoroughly misplaced inductees not named Michael Jeffrey Jordan.

I mean, what were those who run the Hall of Fame thinking?

They weren’t. Well, unless they were omniscient enough to see Jordan racing in his Air Jordans toward that lamp shade.

MCT

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Michael Jordan, alongside David Thompson, is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, Friday, September 11, 2009. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
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Michael Jordan, alongside David Thompson, is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, Friday, September 11, 2009. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
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Chicago Tribune

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    Michael Jordan, alongside David Thompson, is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, Friday, September 11, 2009. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

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Michael Jordan, alongside David Thompson, is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, Friday, September 11, 2009. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

MCT

Michael Jordan, alongside David Thompson, is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, Friday, September 11, 2009. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

MCT

SPRINGFIELD, MA – SEPTEMBER 11: Coach Larry Brown and Hall of Fame player George Gervin present David Robinson to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Larry Brown;George Gervin;David Robinson

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SPRINGFIELD, MA – SEPTEMBER 11: Isiah Thomas presents John Stockton to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Isiah Thomas;John Stockton

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SPRINGFIELD, MA – SEPTEMBER 11: David Thompson leads to his seat after Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during a ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** David Thompson;Michael Jordan

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SPRINGFIELD, MA – SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Jordan stands with other members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michael Jordan

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SPRINGFIELD, MA – SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Jordan is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during a ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michael Jordan

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SPRINGFIELD, MA – SEPTEMBER 11: David Robinson is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** David Robinson

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Michael Jordan arrives with Yvette Prieto for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Symphony Hall in Springfield Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, Friday, September 11, 2009. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

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That said, you can’t turn Jordan into a basketball immortal with others, no matter who they are or what their qualifications. It also doesn’t matter that such a move of designating Jordan as a solo induction act would be unprecedented. He is peerless, and come to think of it, they sort of understood as much around here.

You could tell by the way they decided to have John Stockton, David Robinson, Jerry Sloan and Vivian Stringer arrive for the evening festivities one by one — long before Jordan’s considerable entourage. Those others had two motorcycle policemen leading their shiny Rolls Royces to the red carpet that stretched from the edge of Court Street to the aged steps of the hall. Then, as the largest crowd in the 50-year history of this event roared in the distance, Jordan arrived with four motorcycle policemen and a couple of more cops next to his antique car on bicycles.

They applauded the others. They roared for Jordan.

To say this was awful timing for those others to join the elite of the hoops elite with Jordan is to say the man of the moment fired the only blatant air ball of his life earlier in the day. That’s when a considerably more humble Jordan stood at a podium inside of the Hall of Fame’s center court, studied those across the way with only thoughts of impossible dunks, Craig Ehlo and an eternally wagging tongue on their minds and said with a straight face, “Contrary to what you guys believe, it’s not just me going into the Hall of Fame. It’s a group that I’m proud to be a part of, and believe me, I’m going to remember them as much as they remember me.”

Doubtful. Still, there are many things to remember about those others, ranging from their accomplishments on the court to their speeches on Friday. While dribbling down the stretch of his talk, a highly emotional Robinson implored everybody to have God walk with them “they way He walked with me.” Then came Stockton, who left his typically stoic ways to choke on his words when discussing his deceased mother.

Later, Stringer spoke about how we all go “through our trials and tribulations” while referring to the tragic death of her husband and her battle with cancer. Then Sloan gave a sometimes funny and often poignant review of his life that would have ended 32 years ago had he taken a head coaching job at Evansville, his alma mater. Months after he turned it down, the team plane crashed and killed everybody on board.

Jordan was last to take the stage.

Oh, boy.

At one point near the beginning of Jordan’s speech of 21 minutes and 30 seconds, he asked those listening, “What is it about me that you don’t know?” He proceeded to give us the answer in detail — unfortunately.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Comments

  1. Robert Jr. James McClendon says:

    Jordan gave a long good speech. Still don’t think he should be selling those $300 sneakers to kids, but “yes’ he deserves to be in the hall of fame for his atributes as a basketball player. I ddn’t really catch on to the “bitterness”, but for those of us who watched Jordan he ain’t going to never say nothing controversial. He may say its “competitive”, but be bitter – never! He gave a great speech. Left out the Dr. J, again, but… He is the only basketball player that I have seen in my life time that they said he could not do something and he proved them wrong. They don’t say Kolbe can’t play “D”, or Lebron Can’t do that and they prove these guys wrong. Jordan was special. Probably won’t see another one of those guys again for another thirty years. He was more than a “superstar”. “BItter” – dude still competing to be the richest…

  2. there’s a great article on the induction ceremony over at on the button…check it out: http://onthebutton.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/michael-jordan/

  3. Well now Michael called out Russel and Russel wants to play him one on one.

  4. Pete Strombolli says:

    Jordan gave a terrible, bitter, petty and biased speech. Unfortunately, the author of this article decides to immediately alienate everyone who does not share his liberal, elitist and histrionic view of politics. Too bad he didn’t learn from Jordan’s terrible example.

  5. Still scratching my head and trying to figure out what in the world was bitter about his speech. He delivered a good speech about what made him one of the NBA greats. He didn’t belittle Leroy, the high school coach, Dean Smith, Byron Russell, or Buzz Peterson, he used all those guys to motivate himself to the level he wanted to be at. The part about not wanting to be in his kids shoes was cut off by the media. They left it at that, but didn’t include Jordan saying he loved his children and would have their back in anything they wanted to do in life. It seems like if you don’t kiss the feet of the media or pay them off , they will go out of their way to bash you.

  6. Where do these people talking about “liberal” and “elitist” and all that Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck crap keep coming from? Stromboli, if you ain’t like the speech, cool. But save all that “liberal’ Rush Limbaugh “mega ditto” crap. We always know the new white people when they come on here.

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