MJ’s speech really needed a rewrite

Look, nobody can deny that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all-time.  If you need a reminder, just check out what the Worldwide Leader put together in their video compilation of Jordan’s 23 Most Memorable Moments.

Why, then, would Jordan take the opportunity of his Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech last night to spend the majority of it smacking around so many of the characters who passed through his life rather than graciously thanking those who helped shape his basketball career?

Michael Jordan has a few things to get off his chest at last night's induction ceremony at The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Michael Jordan has a few things to get off his chest at last night's induction ceremony at The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

You can watch the full speech here, and certainly there are some who will accept Jordan’s remarks as further evidence of his competitive nature.  It is maybe  a little too easy to characterize that “fire” as embers that burned bright throughout his playing career and which continue to simmer as his post-playing life unfolds.

But, c’mon.  Was all that really necessary?  Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune points out that “wounds apparently don’t heal in Jordan’s world”.

Fanhouse’s Terence Moore takes it a step further to note that “Jordan Goes From Classy to Clown” by delivering remarks that rivaled “the most brutal Hall of Fame acceptance speech ever.”

And Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports does the best job of summing it up by noting that “Jordan’s night to remember turns petty”.  If nothing else, be sure to read the well-written Wojnarowski piece.  For a taste of his analysis, here are a couple key paragraphs:

This wasn’t a Hall of Fame induction speech, but a bully tripping nerds with lunch trays in the school cafeteria. He had a responsibility to his standing in history, to players past and present, and he let everyone down. This was a night to leave behind the petty grievances and past slights – real and imagined. This was a night to be gracious, to be generous with praise and credit.

“M.J. was introduced as the greatest player ever and he’s still standing there trying to settle scores,” one Hall of Famer said privately later.

Jordan didn’t hurt his image with the NBA community, as much as he reminded them of it. “That’s who Michael is,” one high-ranking team executive said. “It wasn’t like he was out of character. There’s no one else who could’ve gotten away with what he did tonight. But it was Michael, and everyone just goes along.”

So, that’s who Michael is.  Disappointing, but not shocking.  And all the more reason as fans to remember to separate the exploits from the individual.  As fantastic as MJ’s career was, and as much as he was always worth the price of admission, most of us probably wouldn’t really enjoy his company.

Hey, if it works for him, then good for him.  But, maybe, just maybe, as Jordan reflects on the fallout from last night’s acceptance speech, this is one time that he might wish he had a do-over.

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~ by acm213 on September 12, 2009.

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