Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech

King Ing September 12, 2009 15

When I watched Michael Jordan’s induction speech to the Hall of Fame I hoped it would never end. It brought back memories of my childhood. From watching him get roughed up against the “Bad Boys” of Detroit to hitting that infamous shot in Game 6 off of Byron Russell. Everytime I stepped on the court I tried to emulate MJ. Everyone I knew did.

This morning I logged onto Twitter to read what others had to say about the speech. Many were saying how “arrogant” and “conceited” Michael sounded. Did you see the man play? Didn’t he always play with an air of arrogance? He is the freaking GREATEST OF ALL TIME! Jordan always played with a chip on his shoulder. He always had something to prove. And this was his way of telling all of that he made it. Can’t people just appreciate the honesty. Or would all of us just like to hear some fluffed up pre-written piece?

Maybe it’s just me, but Michael kept me fully entertained and had me running the gauntlet of emotions. From smiles to tears…just like any good speech should.


  1. Chicago Native September 12, 2009 at 6:32 pm -

    As a Chicago native who grew up watching the Bulls, I was extremely disappointed with Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech. I remember planning nearly 10 years of my life around watching the greatest player and wondering what miraculous shot(s) he would make that evening. Last night I realized Jordan is just a basketball player and that is all he will ever be…he is not a role model and he isn’t someone to look to for guidance or inspiration. He was a sad, bitter man in the middle of a “mid-life” crisis that began 10 years ago. As a person he has committed adultery (many times), he has a gambling addition that he can’t control (many people believe he was thrown out of the NBA by David Stern for those two years that “he” retired because of his gambling), and he constantly shows disrespect towards everyone he encounters. I couldn’t believe how he talked about his children, his coaches, “Organizations”, and how he failed to recognize his teammates and fans. It is so sad to see someone with such an opportunity throw it away on such a grand stage. It reminded me of the 1995 playoffs when Nick Andersen stole the ball from Jordan in the final seconds of the game to curb the Bull’s run into the playoffs. That day he looked mortal but you knew he would come back stronger. Last night, he again appeared mortal but I have no confidence that Jordan will ever capture the two things that appears to elude him…class and humility.

  2. Truth September 12, 2009 at 7:17 pm -

    He was 100% honest! I remember not to long ago his son quit his college basketball team, and there were so many that said he succumb to the pressures of being Michael Jordan’s son. And I feel that is what he was addressing, when he made that comment.
    Now if he had written this humble thank everybody else speech, all of his critics would have called him condescending. He was a professional basketball player, THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME, he was paid to win and everyone in Chicago benefit from those wins. No you want to make fun of him and say he is suffering from “mid-life crisis” that is what I call a ban-wagon fan RIGHT THERE…Chicago.
    His many critics would have found something wrong in anything he said…anything so he went out there and spoke the truth. HE IS THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME, and THE MOST HONEST

  3. joesox September 12, 2009 at 8:41 pm -

    Should Bill Russell go on stage and say, “Hey MJ, when you win 5 more championships, come and see me.”
    I used to like him. This speech was what I expected from Rickey Henderson! Chicago Native got it right about he is only a ball player. The older I get and realize the unfortunate influence they have on our kids,(and me growing up), it makes me appreciate people like John Stockton. Great ball player, not blessed with the physical size, yet accomplished much. He thanked the people who made him great, just like David Robinson. MJ may be the greatest individual basketball player so far, but better will come along. He would have lost every time if it wasn’t for the other 4 players on the court. “There is an I in win?” Come on! What happened to sportsmanship?

  4. Darryl Maxie September 12, 2009 at 10:57 pm -

    I read where Michael Jordan was supposed to have given a bitter, conceited Hall of Fame speech. That he bullied players, coaches and organization officials for slights real and perceived. I kept bracing for it.

    What I heard instead was a man who kept coming back to the central point of what made him the player he became — the things that stoked his competitive fire. Whether it was a coach who picked somebody else to make a team, or a Sports Illustrated cover or players who challenged him on the court, Jordan was consistent in one thing — thanking those who kept giving him challenges to surmount, because without them, Jordan wouldn’t have become what he did.

    Jordan was singularly focused on winning and becoming the best player he could become. Was he imperfect? Of course, as are we all. But I don’t see this as some patting-himself-on-the-back, conceited, self-absorbed speech.

    All those people in their own way contributed to making Michael Jordan what he was — the most spectacularly skilled player to play the game. He didn’t win the most. He didn’t score the most. But he burned with as much passion for the game as any of them, and on the day he was enshrined he thanked them for pushing, needling and motivating him toward that end.

  5. Brian September 13, 2009 at 12:23 am -

    From what I heard disappointed me! MJ is was a good basketball player but take that away and who is he? From what I heard last night a conceited old man!

  6. Jordan September 13, 2009 at 1:30 am -

    When did MJ show humility? Everyone trashes him, but where did he go wrong?

  7. Greg September 13, 2009 at 6:17 am -

    It’s ridiculous to criticize Jordan for being a ruthless arrogant douchebag because that’s exactly what he was all those years in Chicago… and that’s exactly what made him such an amazing player and an even more inspiring person. Michael Jordan put everything into the game of basketball and if you don’t respect him (and his very positive character traits) then you don’t understand excellence (in any field). That speech was beautiful because it once and for all made clear his thought processes. If EVERYONE used that thinking to accomplish their goals imagine what an awesome world this would be.

  8. Trevor September 13, 2009 at 10:19 am -

    I see both sides of all the comments I have read. I started being a big mj basketball fan before he won the championships when doug collins was coach and of course all through the championships and retirements.

    However, I was not impressed with his speech, it was ok and a little on the classless side. He really did take some mean-spirited jabs at his former management. I see how some say it’s his competitive side others says he is bitter or hold grudges. I don’t know what it was maybe both, maybe one or the other. We will never know unless he is candid about his speech in an interview. I thought David Robinson’s gave an awesome speech and the quality of who Mr. Robinson is and has been really shined through.

    With all of the that, I still think Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. He did for the NBA what no single or multiple players did with making the game global. But as MJ said if it were not for his predecessors their would be no Michael Jordan.

  9. Jeff Walker September 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm -

    I am that guy who has made videos, collages, songs (“the kobe jordan song”), poems, drawings about MJ. That guy who is teased for his “man love” of Michael. However I can’t stand up for what he did on that night and all these fans who are standing up for him are just doing what we always do with Mike, looking the other way. While I do agree that his intentions were to kind of “roast” the entire NBA who churned his competitive edge, this was one step too far. He already burned everyone, over and over, for 15 years. There was NO NEED to do it on the day when he was supposed to be gracious and humble. My man love for his game is still on high, but my respect for the person has dropped a few notches.

  10. Lugard September 13, 2009 at 1:53 pm -

    For those who criticize Jordan for his speech, what is it that you wanted him to say that he did not? This was about him and he spoke his mind exactly on his personal issues that he apparently wanted to touch on. I am sure he knew it will not please everybody. But I don’t think you could say he was wrong or he was right. I did not have any opinion at all when I listened to it.

  11. Ed I. September 14, 2009 at 5:30 pm -

    I was there. I heard it live. My immediate reaction: “not your typical induction speech, but then again, this was not your typical inductee.” Overall, extremely positive. The next day, had a chance to listen to it twice all the way through. I guess I’m surprised at the anger I’m reading on the net over MJ’s speech (in some of these posts and other articles). Perhaps he disappointed your expectations (for all those watching – didn’t we all have them?) however, you simply didn’t hear it correctly if you thought it was petty, bitter, vindictive, or nasty. Please, did you expect perfection on the podium that night? I didn’t know that God was on the program. For all the critics that have written so negatively, I have a few questions.
    What would have made you happy? If Michael had read four pages of scripted stories on how he came up through the ranks, you would have cried stale, indifferent, and boring! If he had made ‘nice’ by giving us the much anticipated and desired platitudes of his genuine humility, you would have shouted out, Faker! Fraud! He’s pandering to his sneaker buying public! Did you want him to recount his tales of woe coming from a middle class black family in Wilmington, North Carolina? No, you would have criticized his colossal ego for using this stage to recount his journey of ‘inner greatest’. If he had simply said, “Thank You,” as had apparently crossed his mind, you would have said, “What arrogance to have robbed us of our moment by not speaking!” So he surprised us. He let millions of viewers know that it wasn’t just some mythical, pure inner drive that motivated him to work everyday towards some endless definition of success. It wasn’t a special sprinkling of DNA in his body that made him push to get better, year after year. What he did share was something very personal that likely, few realized. MJ constantly relied on external forces, often magnified to his convenience, to motivate him forward to break a multitude limits that he simply refused to accept. External forces used as necessary motivation to strive for more even at the times when his mind/body were screaming, “STOP – enough, you’ve done enough-it’s good . . . enough.” For Michael Jordan, it was never enough. It’s the price that he was willing to pay, and pay it he did! That mentality may be hard for the majority of us to understand. We don’t live on that street. We don’t ‘view things’ the way he does or simply, don’t think along those lines. For many of MJ’s critics, it might be that this is the definition of ‘insanely’ driven. We don’t want any part of that insanity in our own lives. We don’t want to push ourselves, through, any means at hand, to excel every single day in our jobs. As a result, it’s likely that we aren’t regarded by our peers as the best person/performer in our field. We all live different lives and in the end, if you are satisfied and happy with yours, life is good. At the same time, isn’t it ironic how we tend to shower accolades on those willing to make the sacrifice in the extreme for the opportunity to entertain us AND then, resent their success when they, against all odds, climb their way to the top. We regularly scream, “Please me human, please me everyday. If you don’t, be prepared for me to criticize you for daring to be in the our spotlight.” What hypocrisy!
    If you have time, take a listen to MJ’s speech – front to back. What I believe you’ll find (unless your bias is predetermined as an MJ hater), is an emotionally charged person, who is completely human in spite of extraordinary success, freely speaking without regard to pleasing his detractors. Admittedly, it’s certainly not the fairytale pretty most would have loved BUT, it’s not about someone getting even or being bitter. It’s MJ opening up with his rarely heard perspective of how he drove himself to the National Hall of Fame. He speaking the truth and that, is definately NOT a con man up there.
    Regardless of your final opinion of this short acceptance speech, can’t we simply close it out by saying thanks for sharing MJ and more importantly, thanks for the memories of an AMAZING athletic career.

  12. SLy September 25, 2009 at 11:24 pm -

    That MJ speech was honest and provided insight into the greatest NBA player arguably athlete of all time. If you are expecting anything else but that speech then you were obivously disappointed. Commnents from people and media is a testimony to this. It was his drive, his ability to continuously take his haters and doubters turning them into the sole source of motivation. This was another window into the world of MJ. Let that be further InspIration to know what it takes to having a wInnIng mentalIty, a never say dIe mentalIty, the at all cost I wIll be a wInner mentalIty. Yes it starts with YOU and it began with hIm.

  13. Justin October 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm -

    People who say he didnt thank his teammates…first thing he brought up before anything else was that Scottie was always there with him, but yet nobody mentions that. This speech isnt about his arrogance it’s about what made him so good (competitiveness) and those people who brought out that fire in him

  14. John December 8, 2009 at 4:42 pm -

    Big surprise that everybody’s fawning all over him here. My response: DOUCHEBAG. Unquestioned Lord and Master of All Douchebags. Is he the greatest ever? Yeah, without a doubt – and a total and complete, balls-to-the-wall douchebag.

    And go ahead and say he’s “earned” being a douchebag by being the greatest ever, or he’s the greatest ever BECAUSE he’s such a douchebag, or whatever. I don’t care how you justify it – it’s enough that you agree he’s a douchebag. Cuz he is.

  15. Joe laBoo February 12, 2010 at 5:52 am -

    Ha Ha Ha! and some more Ha Ha Ha! for all of you who are so jealous, you are the real douche bags, For all the years that Mr. Jordan thrilled us, we admired him, chased him, hell some even worshipped him. You know who you are. Most of us who watch his greatness didn’t care about his feelings, flawes, or short comings, all we did was cheer and claim him as our boy(respectfully) Now that we have gotten a chance to look into the man, we want to berrate him for who he has always been. It reminds me of how all of the independant voters have turned on Our Great President, Barack Obama…. On that inarguration day, everyone was thrilled and this country was heading for a great future. Now we are bogged down in our own do-do and we want to look at others for what we are responsible for and say “who me????????? “Just remember how Mr. Jordan thrill us and forget about your ability, in your small way, to criticie him now that you are old too. Hell, how many of us would like to be young again, relive our haydays??????? The only problem with Mr. Jordan is that he got older before we wanted him to.. I wonder does Mr. Jordan know that people are really mad at him because he is gone and he can’t provide them with that in which they crave. EXCELLANCE…………..None of us ever had what Mr. Jordan had/has or gave us for 13 seasons and we are pissed… I AM……….. In my mine I can still see Mr. Jordan flying through the air and when I listened to his speech I felt good to know that he hasn’t become what anyone wants him to be or become and he is true to himself… I know Mr. Jordan is not the same kid I went to highschool with, but I know there is a connection that some of us will always have and the common thread we are bonded by is Tenacity. We have it ……..So stop your whinning and just go back and remember when……
    Shout out for Larry Jordan, Anthony Ginwright, Cliffton Huff, Danny Walker, Allen Baldwin….

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