Sunday , Sep , 13 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Michael Jordan’s induction speech: Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame?

Some feel Michael Jordan’s gift, his competitive streak, got the better of him during Friday’s Hall of Fame induction speech and cursed what was meant to be a celebration of his accomplishments and legacy. After a moving video retrospective and then getting introduced as ‘The Greatest Player of All-Time’, the critics claim ‘His Airness’ inappropriately used the forum to settle old scores …

Michael Jordan's induction speech: Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame?Occasionally, the gift becomes a curse.

Some feel Michael Jordan’s gift, his competitive streak, got the better of him during Friday’s Hall of Fame induction speech and cursed what was meant to be a celebration of his accomplishments and legacy.

After a moving video retrospective and then being introduced as ‘The Greatest Player of All-Time’, the critics claim ‘His Airness’ inappropriately used the forum to settle old scores. Some of his alleged victims were:

  • Isiah Thomas for the now infamous freeze-out at an All-Star game.
  • An old high school coach for cutting him from the varsity basketball team as a tenth grader.
  • Former Chicago Bulls executive Jerry Krause.
  • Bryon Russell (Jordan won his final championship knocking down a buzzer-beater over the Utah guard in the NBA Finals).

There are two points worth considering on this issue. First, Jordan perhaps could have taken a little more of the high road. However, the day belonged to him and not the critics. Obviously, he wanted people to remember his competitiveness and drive, even if it came at the expense of former foes.

Second, a Hall of Fame event likely rekindles past emotions and feelings. The critics are  forgetting Jordan’s career was often dogged by controversy. Remember, for years, he was unfairly seen as being a a ball-hog, who could never lead a team to an NBA Title.

After breaking through with championships in the early nineties, Jordan dealt with Sam Smith’s ‘The Jordan Rules’. The bestseller painted #23 in a mostly unflattering light. Eventually, it was revealed coach and ‘friend’ Phil Jackson was Smith’s confidential source for the book. 

These are just two examples of Jordan’s greatness bringing out the worst in those around him. There were others. On Friday, the critics were hoping Jordan would only reflect on the good, but he, for whatever reason, specifically chose to remind us of the other side.

This is reasonable. Like it or not, the positive and negative are connected. And it’s all part of Jordan’s gift and curse.

What do you think of Jordan’s speech? Hall of Fame? Or Hall of Shame? Watch the videos and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.



(Part 1: Jordan Hall of Fame speech.)

(Part 2: Jordan Hall of Fame speech.)

(Part 3: Jordan Hall of Fame speech.)


Follow Oly’s work on HoopsVibe and Twitter. Photo courtesy of Athlete Director Dave.