Michael Jordan Delivers Bitter Speech at Hall of Fame Enshrinement

90445066BC336_HOFMichael Jordan has won six NBA championships, six Finals MVPs, and five MVP awards. He’s widely regarded as the best basketball player of all-time and he’s still one of the most well-known athletes globally, of all-time. In addition to sheer talent, most people already recognize that much of Jordan’s accomplishments are a credit to his stellar work ethic, competitive drive, and desire to win. Apparently Michael doesn’t think that’s the case; all you had to do was see his Hall of Fame speech to know the guy still had a lot of bitterness to get off his chest. He told Michael Wilbon in an interview during the week that he wasn’t looking forward to the Hall of Fame induction because it’s too early in his life for that — he wasn’t ready to let go of the glory. That was all evident as MJ turned his speech into a roast, taking down everyone and anyone on his hit list of perceived slights that he used to motivate himself during his career.

During his speech, MJ ripped on high school teammate Leroy Smith saying that Leroy’s game is probably the same (Smith got picked for the varsity over Jordan in 10th grade). Added to that list were Buzz Peterson, his roommate at UNC, his brothers, Dean Smith for not picking him as a starter for SI magazine, Jerry Reinsdorf for holding him back when he was recovering from a foot injury, Doug Collins for not wanting him to practice in the summer, and several others. Jordan ripped on Bulls GM Jerry Krause (no surprise given their past) saying “Jerry’s not here, I don’t know who’d invite him. I didn’t.” The multi-millionaire even ripped the Hall of Fame for raising the ticket price to attend the speech, costing him more money to bring his family to the event. Jordan ripped Pat Riley for not letting him fraternize with Charles Oakley or Patrick Ewing, and he also got in a shot on Jeff Van Gundy, calling him “the little guy on the staff.” Rather than being gracious for his induction to the Hall of Fame, Jordan had to touch on anything and everything he ever used to motivate himself and he was a jerk along the way.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! put it best (video of the entire speech is below):

Once again, he turned the evening into something bordering between vicious and vapid, an empty exercise for a night that should’ve had staying power, that should’ve been transformative for basketball and its greatest player. What fueled his fury as a thirtysomething now fuels his bitterness as a lost, wandering fortysomething who threatened a comeback at 50.

He may be the greatest player of all-time but instead he’s now coming off as a bitter old man.

Here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it:

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  • SpinMax

    Wonder how bitter he’d be if they’d properly announced him as the 2nd greatest player of all time to Wilt. Jordan’s a jerk. Maybe the time has come where he doesn’t think he has to be nice to make business deals and sell shoes.

  • http://www.all-encompassingly.com doug

    I had heard that Jordan’s speech was “candid” and “moving”… But I came away with the exact same impression as you did: he is still angry after all these years.

    What a contrast with Stockton, who lavished praise on his kids for their unique qualities, or Robinson, who closed his speech with a Bible story of humility and thankfulness. Yet here was Jordan, thanking his family for helping him be competitive and a champion and pointing to every person in his past who made him angry and angrier. Kind of off-putting.

    I will admit, however, I did enjoy the digs at Reinsdorf and Krause. ;)

  • Alan

    “Next, I’d like to thank little Jimmy Smith from Mrs. Biron’s 2nd grade class. He’s 52 now. He once called me Michael Orton. That really burned me up.

    Finally, I’d like to thank the guy serving the roast beef over in the HOF buffet line. I could have sworn he gave Stockton a better piece. That really burned me up.”

    What a joke. Hey MJ, I think I heard someone in the crowd drop a quarter. All you.

  • jon

    “2nd greatest player of all time to Wilt” -true retard i am speechless
    “Jordan had to touch on anything and everything he ever used to motivate himself and he was a jerk along the way.” -LOL what a jerk he should lie and tell everyone his motivation came out of his ass and that he doesn’t want to tell shit how it is cuz some retarded news reporter will make a terrible, ill-written review about his speech.

    This site is shit and needs to be taken down, its being run by a bunch of low lifes who obviously don’t know who Michael Jordan is and don’t know what it means to get their fatasses off the couch and become the greatest athlete to ever grace planet earth.

    PS: what im doing right now is being a jerk, what jordan was doing was stating facts in the most compelling speech ever delivered about how the greatest athlete of all time became the best. he was no where near being a jerk and i can argue anything this moron who reviewed the speech into the ground. terrible site, terrible comments, terrible people, and god DAMN that felt good laying into you low life scumbags. you never deserved to watch michael jordan play, you have absolutely no respect.

  • kasun

    @jon: There are many different dimensions of success. What makes a person successful is not merely how many rings you have or how good you want everyone to know you were…we all knew these things, that was the whole point of the awards night, dummy. No need to shove it down people’s throats. It was childish, especially for a man heading towards 50. Actions speak louder than words, and Mike J. proved that throughout his career. Him running his mouth just showed how insecure he is as a person. It comes as no surprise, as I’m sure people boost his ego on a daily basis, allowing arrogance in. Yes, you might disagree and call me a “hater,” probably b’cos you worship him and every other misfit that America calls a celebrity, but I personally feel that he tarnished his legacy with that speech. Perfect illustration of the changing values in this society.

  • jon

    @kasun: your a funny guy “b’cos you worship him and every other misfit that America calls a celebrity” a very funny guy. thanks for putting words in my mouth because i defend the hardest working athlete ever and then you compare my judgement on him to “every misfit that America calls a celebrity” your own terrible arguments nullify any credibility you THOUGHT you had. even though i already knew you had none. this was jordans moment in the history books, to sum up his great, historical basketball career, while being accepted into the hall of fame, eternally installing him as the greatest to ever play. he gave an emotional and compelling speech, he spoke from the heart and he was honest, he explained what he did and what he learned throughout his life as a person and a basketball player. it was an amazing speech and last but not least, “Perfect illustration of the changing values in this society.”? are you seriously that stupid? you go on to put words in someones mouth and then draw conclusions. i guess thats what u do when you can’t win an argument (since u don’t even have one to begin with and brought ZERO facts to the table to prove me wrong, since i am not wrong at all).