Friday, September 18th, 2009 at 1:41 pm  |  101 responses

Links: Err Jordan?

Fri-Day! Yes!

by Lang Whitaker

Last Friday night, I’d promised to reserve an evening for Wifey. I wouldn’t watch the Braves, wouldn’t watch college football. I told her I’d willingly — or at least, pretending to be willing — sit with her and perhaps watch a movie of her choosing, which would almost certainly be a foreign film heavy on dialogue and subtitles. (I hate movies with a lot of dialogue. If I’m going to the movies and paying $10 or whatever, I want to see amazing special effects and visuals that force me to suspend disbelief. If I want to watch two people talking, I’ll go to Starbucks or ride the subway.)

Before we sat down and starting looking through the exciting list of indie (a.k.a. low-budget) movies available on On Demand, I flipped past ESPN, where the Hall of Fame induction ceremony was being televised. I just so happened to hit it just as Michael Jordan was being introduced and making his way to the podium, so I shot Wifey my best puppy dog eyes and said, “Pleeeeeeeease?” She sighed and said sure.

So I watched Michael Jordan’s induction speech live. And you know what? I loved it. Loved it.

Over the last ten years, I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince athletes that they have permission to speak freely, with varying amounts of success. Despite my best efforts, it doesn’t always work. Because they know that they can’t speak their minds. They understand that if they say something even mildly controversial, there are approximately 143,572 news outlets and blogs out there that will take their most controversial words, strip them of any context, and then opine away.

The one story I always go back to is from when we were working on Striker, the now dearly departed soccer magazine. I went to Manchester to visit my guy Tim Howard, the American goalkeeper. Tim’s first year in Manchester, he’d ended up starting for United and having an incredible year, winning Goalkeeper of the Year (as voted on by all the other Premier League Players). Early in his second season, he made mistakes in back-to-back games, and suddenly Sir Alex Ferguson parked him on the bench.

I went to Manchester to visit Tim, and when we sat down to do the official “interview,” he said this:

“It’s never as bad as the papers say, and it’s never as good as the papers say. I’m a big believer in looking yourself in the mirror, and I’m always going to own up to my mistakes. Did I lose us games? No, no. Did I contribute to it? Yes. But it takes 11 of us to win and 11 of us to lose. Having said that, a goalkeeper is a very convenient scapegoat. Absolutely, positively. I understand that.”

When we finished the interview, I asked him if he realized his quotes were going to be taken out of context. He said he did, but he wanted to be honest. The day after that interview was posted on SI.com, there were headlines all over England that Tim was saying he had been made a scapegoat. Which isn’t what he said. But by speaking his mind, it was almost as if he’d given the world permission to take him out of context.

I’ve been reminded of that experience this week as the media worked itself into a tizzy over Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame induction speech. Watching it live, I was hanging on every word. How often, if ever, have you seen Michael Jordan say what he meant? No metaphors, no veiled illusions, just truth. To become the global marketing phenomenon he’s become, he had to be a politician, constantly satisfying his base. If he said what he really felt about his teammates and opponents, someone would’ve run to take it all out of context. He knew this, so he closed the curtain. He gave us some of his thoughts, just not anything all that interesting.

Until last week. For once, Michael Jordan opened the curtain fully and completely. And now he’s being criticized for letting us see the guy inside pulling the levers. You know all those rumors and legends we’ve heard about MJ feuding with Jerry Krause or with Isiah Thomas? Michael finally addressed them. Could he have picked a better format in which to do so? Probably. But at least he did, for once, come before us openly and honestly. Did he know he’d be criticized? Undoubtedly. But he gave us the truth. Michael Jordan will go down in history as the greatest basketball player who ever lived. The drive and competitiveness that fueled that rise? We saw it on Friday night.

I guess some people would have rather seen Michael Jordan get up there and be nice, to water down his comments and say thanks to a bunch of people. But that, apparently, would have been dishonest. Do you want the truth? We got it. A lot of people just couldn’t handle the truth, I guess.

So, for everyone who wanted to see a shiny, happy, perfect Michael Jordan, I remixed his acceptance speech for you. This is what you wanted? Great. Hope you like it…

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    A legend and an asshole.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    Not you, Lang.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    And, hey, first!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    For the record, I’m thrilled Mike gave the speech he gave and wouldn’t have wanted him to change a word. It’s a great reminder of why I never, ever liked him. Ever.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    I also loved it.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    How many legends AREN’T a-holes?
    The more I learn about the folks considered “legends” the more I see that people with great talents typically have equally massive flaws. Seems to be the trade-off. The question is how many of us would be willing to make a similar bargain?

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    I loved the speech as well. And Allenp, I guess when people become so ridiculously famous, it’s not hard to have an inflated ego.

  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    This was the speech he promised his friends he’d give before he went up there. He probably put 40 on Barkley on his driveway after this and was like, “remember the time you said I should give a short acceptance speech? Chuck, you’re fat.”

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    “For the record, I’m thrilled Mike gave the speech he gave and wouldn’t have wanted him to change a word. It’s a great reminder of why I never, ever liked him. Ever.” Coming from Ryan this is obviously the biggest compliment Jones could give him. It was fantastic and anyone that couldn’t be on board with it are the same types of cats that when you play ball with them they quit when you call them out for playing like dogsh*t or even better……..never amounted to much beyond a 8th rate athlete in their quest to be worth a sh*t. They invented video games for people like that…..so they never had to face a real-world physical or athletic challenges and come face to face with guys like Michael. Keep pushing those buttons kiddies!

  • hillbilly

    When you sh!t on the ground, it’s fertilizer. When you sh!t in your pants, it’s embarrassing. In other words, there’s a time & place for everything. If Jordan had axes to grind and scores to settle, he could (& should) have chosen a more appropriate forum than his HOF induction ceremony. With the eyes of millions of adoring fans around the world fixed on him for those twenty-three minutes, he came off sounding like a bitter old man who would rather dwell on the past than look to the future. I don’t care what anyone says about how refreshing it was to see the ‘real MJ’. If that’s the real version of a basketball legend, I’ll take the corporate version any day. That speech was just plain dumb and a sad footnote to an otherwise spectacular NBA career.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Per his screename, hillbilly makes my point.


    I was Dj’ing that night, so I read it on the close-captioning on the bar tv, which was almost better, because as each word crawled out, I knew the Real MJ had finally shown his face. “Jeff Van Gundy, Pat Riley’s little man…” I thought the stenographer was up to something. MJ has always been about the most white-washed, saleable image ever invented, the ball-less Ali. Do we appreciate him more for the revealed malice? No. But if you’re heartbroken or disappointed over this, buy some Starburys. A Starbury/MJ Youtube mash-up needs to happen.

  • mookie

    the girl in the red was hot

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    “You know all those rumors and legends we’ve heard about MJ feuding with Jerry Krause or with Isiah Thomas? Michael finally addressed them. Could he have picked a better format in which to do so?” YES. There is a time and a place to be candid. Last Friday night may have been a good time, but the Basketball Hall of Fame was not the right place.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Also lost among Mr. Co*ksuckingmotherfu*kingpiecesh*ts rant was the fact that he wouldn’t accept the “best ever” status so many of the same donut stained writers annointed him over the years. I believe he said something to the effect of “I never played with Elgin, or Wilt or Jerry West so I can’t make that distinction”. Meanwhile, if he did glowingly throw that out in his speech that he was the best ever, then he’d be vilified for that too. Like it’s been said before, he couldn’t win that night.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    I dont know if the Krause and Isiah feud was just rumors. He did openly blast them in the papers every day for years. And I dont feel like cutting and pasting nay comments, but please, lets not act like there were only two choices or being vanilla and being a complete *sshole. Fri-day!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    And there are several successful people in the business world, which is far more cutthroat and relevant than any sporting event, who managed to reach the top of their field without the sociopathic tendencies. I understand that athletes somewhat need to be this way to achieve what they have, but to use it as such an excuse is disconcerting. Does winning really excuse everything? Would we call it a competitive spirit if he lost all those Finals? No, we’d call him a bitter *sshole.

  • mdshuai

    Why would anyone want to see anything but the truth? I don’t think this speech tarnishes his “legend,” “legacy” or whatever you want to call it. Not one bit. To me, it amplifies it. You want to know how competitive the man is? He came back to basketball in 95 cause Bryon Russel said he would’ve been able to guard him.

  • izzo

    I’m not very good at basketball, but I can spot an assh*le. Mike appears to be one. A massive, gaping one.

  • hillbilly

    Nice try, junior. But, the only point you’ve got is the one on top of your head. Now, go play in traffic…

  • http://dyalekt.blogspot.com d.Y.

    Word to Jones & Myles. The bitterest winner. Shining example of how success don’t equal happiness. He’s content to remain the bully, like that’s all he’s got. What does a cat do when he can’t appreciate that he’s the most beloved and idolized ever in his industry?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    He didn’t lose all those Finals. He was better than his competition. How you do it isn’t the measuring stick……it’s your final result. Unless you want to go through life saying “well, I tried pretty hard but I couldn’t do it.”

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I know I’d never want any of these cats playing on my side of a basketball game.

  • lupefiasco

    Damn yall are some sensitive people. Jesus Christ

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Mike would’ve punched in the face BEFORE practice, E….twice.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Um, isnt that the point? That the only way its suitable to be such a petty braggart is to also be a winner? Yet its also unbecoming of a winner and supposed statesman to be such a petty braggart? Which means that its not acceptable for anyone to act that way. If he had to do what he had to do behind the Berto Center doors to become ‘the’ MJ, so be it. But that wasnt the time or the place. And as far as playing on your basketball team, I guess Bill Russell, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Magic Johnson will have to settle for playing with me. Those p*ssies….

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Not pus*ies……..winners………WINNERS!!!!!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Um, exactly. And they did it without being megalomaniacal pricks.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Exactly WHY I’d want THEM on my team…….again, IT’S THE END RESULT, NOT HOW YOU GOT THERE!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Oh…..and for clarification’s sake, you forgot Shaq and The Robot, two notoriously mild-mannered leaders who won a bunch of titles too.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the balla

    Hey Eboy, lol … you gotta laugh at Hillbilly’s comment at 3:14. That is pretty funny sh1t.

  • Brian

    I don’t think MJ was necessarily being a jerk during his speech, I just think he gave a really bad, rambling speech.

  • Oli

    I also loved MJ’s speech the most. Runner-up? Stockton, once again…

    However, since (almost) no one else seemed to like his speech, I thought of an alternative:

    “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth! Thank you.”

  • Randy Brown

    That video was genius. He should’ve went up in a suit made out of Jordan shoes. Or in a rival brand suit, with a flag draped over the logo

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    The point is, you can win without being a prick. You can show your competitive spirit in a speech without being vindictive or petty. So being a jerk is not a prequisite to establishing yourself among the all time greats. Its in poor taste and shows little if any reverence or respect for your contemporaries. Imagine if Bill Russell-who won almost twice as many titles-behaved that way. Its completely out of character. Same for Magic etc. So we cant write his actions off to a competitive spirit. If he was driven by petty jealousies and perceived slights his whole career, then its very well possible that he was competitive in addition to being a petty and spiteful person. Normally I dont care what a player is like off the court, but this is a crowning moment for any player and its nothing less than disappointing to behave in such a manner. If its okay for him to be that way during his induction, then I cant wait to see what Scottie has to say. Or Kobe for that matter. Because Shaq was about as mild mannered as hot sauce on herpes.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I said as a leader re: Shaq. He is not a killer competitor in the vein of your boy or Michael.

  • izzo

    MonoMJism-A belief that only one God exist, and his name is Michael Jordan.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’ve been riding with you on the speech, but the idea that how you do it is not as important as the results doesn’t fly with me.
    I mean, if I become a millionaire making kiddie pron, does that mean you should just celebrate the fact that I’m a millionaire.
    I can understand people who think MJ is a prick, hell I agree. I just disagree on the idea that his speech was that bad. I didn’t seem disrespectful to me, or horrible for the occasion. It seemed like a thank you and a retrospective on the one thing that made him achieve what he achieved in his career.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    A few of the players you named on your list had some pretty bad reps and character traits themselves from what I’ve read. They just knew better than to be totally honest in their Hall of Fame speeches.

  • Homie

    Allenp @ 4:46 – exactly. It’s not all about results.

  • http://yahoo.com Logues

    @ Ryan Jones: ever heard the saying “nice guys finish last?” well there you go, mj wanted to win and like he said in his speech he did whatever it took

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    MJ walked the walk better than anyone can. So he can talk all he wants. Because he bloody earned it.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    I mean, MJ won. Convincingly. And he didn’t do it just by showboating, he did it by leading both by example and vocally.

  • http://www.sonicbids.com/shaemorin doyouwantmore

    I didn’t hear anything wrong with his speech at all! I honestly can’t see the big deal, other than 99% of the media is a bunch of ticks and leeches that portray good things as bad and bad things as good. It was an awesome speech, with a few awkward moments, just like any other regular person would have done. MJ is awesome. Anybody who doesn’t do a lot of public speaking (LIKE SPORTSWRITERS AND BLOGGERS) has no right to criticize his speech. I’ve been a public speaker for about seven years and it never goes exactly according to plan, unless you just read off paper, which is boring. I especially like what he said about Jerry Krause actually. The players do have to go play and fat guys in suits are part of the problem with the NBA right now.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    I don’t mean to offend any of you guys here on this board, but I feel that our collective obsession with being politically correct, with saying the right things etc. is just a the castrating symptom of tall poppy syndrome. MJ holds a special place in all our hearts, and it definitely would be “nicer” if we can remember him as a messianic hero. But the painful truth is that he was a cold blooded bad MFer. Magic and Bird are the same. Shaq is the same, and so is Kobe. KG. LeBron (recall his behaviour when his team lost to Orlando this year) too. Sure, I think it is very possible for nice guys to finish first – Duncan & Robinson, Hakeem & Glide are examples of this – but just as often, you have winners who aren’t able (or can’t be bothered to) hide their competitive natures behind a family-friendly politically correct smile.

  • http://fjsklf.com Jukai

    What the f*ck is Eboy talking about playing against people with real athletics? Don’t you teach elementary school basketball? Get the f out of here with that bullsh*t.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty aka make it reign aka flightschool aka the ghetto Kornel David

    @Lang, no way #1 on that NBA10 kicks list is B Roy, peep the complexion of that leg, its gotta be Oden or Aldridge. Unless EA is just that far off.

  • http://fjsklf.com Jukai

    Joel: You don’t have to be politically correct to not be an asshole. Really, it doesn’t take THAT much effort. It really doesn’t.
    Myles: In fairness to Eboy (the only thing I’ll give him), Russell, Kareem, and Baylor were notorious assholes on the court. Russell knocked some dude out he thought was riding him too hard. Kareem broke his hand trying to do the same thing. Baylor was just a douche (although in fairness, Russell and Baylor seem like incredibly nice people off the court. Kareem I’ve heard is an all around d-head).

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty aka make it reign aka flightschool aka the ghetto Kornel David

    @Jukai, Eboy has a pretty high opinion of himself. Even if no one else does. This is nothing new.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    That remark MJ made about Bryon Russell was in poor taste in my opinion.

  • http://www.sonicbids.com/shaemorin doyouwantmore

    I think MJ felt when he was writing the speech that he was being gracious by including even those people who tried so hard to stop him over the years. He acknowledged them in what he probably felt was a playful, competitive, but good natured way. Pre-internet it would have been seen as a pretty good speech, watercooler talk the next day, and then put away into history, instead of dissected by internet experts and Monday-morning quarterbacks.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Adding to Myles point that “you can win without being a prick”, which I totally agree with, you can also turn off the competitiveness when you step off the court. Yes, there is an “off” switch to your competitiveness, it’s called a brain. And as you mature, the switch gets easier to turn on and off in the appropriate circumstances.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    I don’t know. Look at how he said it. And look at John Stockton’s (Russell’s teammate) facial expression. Stockton seems to be like: “Why is he calling out Russell?!”

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    He acknowledged the Knicks players in an appropriate way though. John Starks, Oakley, etc. That was cool.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    But that was the only problem I had with the speech: his Bryon Russell remark. I really don’t see what else was controversial in it. So could the people who are calling Jordan an a$$hole give specific examples as to why the speech is so bad? I mean, for example, he mentioned the alleged “freeze-out”. He said that he took it as a rumor and not truth, but that he wanted to prove himself to those guys (Isiah, Gervin, etc), and that that was a motivational tool for him. What’s so douchey about that? I mean, I’m ambivalent about Jordan, but I’m just trying to understand.

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    The content isn’t what’s “douchey”, it’s the circumstances and the format. This actually would have been pretty cool to hear in an interview. But it wasn’t an interview, it was his speech at his induction to the Hall of Fame, in front of peers who came to celebrate his career and accomplishments.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq


  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    I didn’t see the speech live. When I heard people’s reactions, I thought MJ had given a vitriolic speech. I thought he had given one that was really petty. I went back and listened, but I didn’t see any of that (aside from the Russell remark). Maybe I’m not listening to the whole speech or something. But like Lang pointed out, you want the Remix instead? It’s HIS moment. Let him say what he wants. I don’t see what “circumstances” and “format” have to do with it.

  • http://www.twitter.com/from_the_chi Bryan Crawford

    As far as I’m concerned, when you’re the GOAT… you can pretty much say whatever you want. He earned that right. You can call him bitter, you can call him a jerk, you can call him whatever you want. Just don’t leave out the part about him being the greatest basketball player of all time. That’s the only part that matters.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I’m just glad this post unearthed Farmer Jones.

  • Erika Badu

    good basketball player who didn’t stand for anything and is an a$$hole by all accounts.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Being a prick is not a by-product of greatness. Greatness give you a license to act like a prick and not get called for it. And why should we be cool with his speech because it was ‘authentic’? If I don’t like what he said, I don’t like what he said. Who cares that he meant it for real this time?

  • ihatekobebryant

    that speech sucked not because he seemed petty but because he kept rambling on about his competitive nature and that’s something you don’t have talk about you just have it.we saw it every night when he was on that floor he didn’t have to tell us all these silly ass stories about his life to prove it to us. the most pathetic thing all year in basketball was kobe bryant in the finals biting his nails and with these wack ass game faces like come on jordan never did that silly shit . he went out on that floor and killed everybody he was up against.that is a real competitor

  • http://slamonline.com Niya-girl-fresh

    Micheal always had a big ego, on and off the court. THAT’S WHY I LOVED HIM THEN AND LOVED HIM NOW. Because he wasn’t afraid to let people know he was a bad ass player. He didn’t care what the meida thought about him, and that attitude catapulted him to the next level as a player. When you aren’t sitting out there trying to please the fans, and the media, makign sure the fans have this fantasy of one day going home plating daisies and flowers with you then, you focus mainly on your game, and that’s what he did. I loved his speech, and applauded when he was done. MJ was arrogant but his image was “niced up” if you will so it wouldn’t be a detriment to the kids or people who wanted to be like him or looked up to him. But he was always arrogant,and egotistical that’s what made him great whether people liked it or not.
    And that’s why I like players like Kobe, and LeBron etc. They know they’re great and they know they’re good and it comes across, as arrogant, selfish or whatever the fans and media portrays it as. Has nothing to do with that, it’s the love of the “game” the passion for the “game”. Why yould they sit up there to try and please the fans and media with their off court things all of the time? We watch them as players and atheletes and they give us what we want which is playing with their heart on the courts all of the time.What are they suppose to say? “Ah nah shawty I’m aight I’m not all that, though I bust my a$$ in the gym early in the morning before the birds chirp, bust my butt in all categories times ten with strict references, but that doesn’t mean nothing”. No way they’re gonna let you know I work hard for this so I’m going to show it off and let you know about it. Only difference between these three egotistical players is that Kobe gets the most flack for it lol. Had to say it.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    Actually I don’t think being great at basketball gives you license to be a jerk. You’re a legendary basketball player? Good for you. Get some manners. The Game of Basketball (TM) is actually, contrary to popular belief, a pretty SMALL part of life, no matter who you are. There are things that are infinitely more important than The Game of Basketball (TM). So having a wicked jump shot does not elevate you over a f*cking janitor. But here’s my point: I don’t see WHY the speech is so bad. I’m not saying it isn’t; perhaps I’ve missed something.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    And you know, I just want to say something egotism. People say that it’s fine for players to be egotistical. I guess it kinda comes with the territory in a way, and because of that people accept it. For me, I could honestly give a rat’s a$$, because I don’t hold players in general in such high regard. I mean, I don’t Barkley was right: they aren’t role models. But I just want to say that egotism SHOULDN’T be accepted. It shouldn’t be OK for a superstar to be egotistical. Why can’t you be a great player like, say, Hakeem Olajuwon? That guy was a class act.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariq

    Wow. I need an editor.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    Never going to be another Michael Jordan. That could both make people buy more MJ merch. and calm them down off that, hope Pippen & Kobe don’t do this too. The style and overmarketing was copied more than the FUBAR bastard competitive spirit. Not everyone is going to have that in them and there isn’t another NBA player yet with it.
    Jackie Moon sounding like he’s taking on others opinions online more than his own. Go read Beth Shoals at Sportingnews Baseline blog then too, to sway your opinion. But maybe you needed to read that one first, instead of whatever one you read first. His peers clapped accordingly and you’ve read how Byron Russell enjoyed hearing his name again & stayed in the news – challenging him again. Krause, probably locked out the building tho.

  • http://www.nextgg.com DMC14

    he’s aloud to be an arsehole, not that i think he is. your not gonna get along with everyone in life and no ones perfect. considering he was the perfect basketball player he must be lacking skills else where.

  • 6marjons

    Wasn’t SLAM one of the main lobbyists for getting rid of the dress code and hasn’t this magazine in the past openly expressed interest in hearing what the thoughts and feelings are of players, haven’t you guys in the past praised AI and people similar for his openness about the game and opponents?
    MJ picked the right stage to do this on, the pinnacle of his basketball career when all eyes were on him he addressed issues and spoke with heart, the truth is if he had done a nice soppy speech that lasted five minutes the same people that are criticizing him now would have a go at him for not respecting the honour enough.

  • JodythePresidoRecLegend

    I think after all the BS MJ had to put up with all those years he deserves to call all those people out who talked crap. I mean wtf is wrong with you people.. the only reason there will never be an MJ is because there will never be a player who cared more about winning than making the money. I mean yeah he made his money but he became so marketable and signed such big contracts because of his asskicking prowess. F U to all the haters of Jordan.. especially you Ryan Jones… Jordan always gave slam love and basketball wouldnt feel the same without his game winning shots. The Bulls maybe win one championship without him if any and Im not inspired to have such a competative spirit that makes me the player I am today without me witnessing what I witnessed in Jordan. I loved my sonics but they couldnt beat him and Im damn sure glad the Jazz got put away like they did because I think that might be the last time they ever make the finals..

  • http://Odebu@gmx.net Darksaber

    Couldn’t watch live, but Russ and others (writers) started twittering outrage at the speech got me curious, and i was expecting a firestorm of a speech when i saw the re-runs. Imagine my surprise when i was touched (the tears, seeing Kukoc the professor, Pip, Worm, Kerr & Oak), filled with joy (him thanking Scottie & his mum), laughing like a hyena (Stockton’s expression when MJ called him out on the Russel episode – priceless, Love of the game anecdote, “i in win”) and at times taken aback (stating that only the players make a champion basically, and stating he didn’t invite the Jerry’s: nasty, Making his bro’s smaller than they were..) and plain flumoxed (a comeback at 50 statement followed by the infamous “u laugh at me, i’ll prove” u wrong Jordan face). I enjoyed the speech in general, was nowhere as inflammatory as i expected, given the gathering storm of criticism on Twitter etc. In his head, MJ wasn’t ready to be “retired” like this yet. U could feel him fighting the honor from the minute he was nominated. in my opinion, this influenced the general vibe of his speech.

  • http://Odebu@gmx.net Darksaber

    Hey Boing! Don’t you dare question the results of Lang’s Live ’10 contest. You are not adding an asterisk next to my 1st. ever Internet contest win. Nooooo wayyy.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty aka make it reign aka flightschool aka the ghetto Kornel David


  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/sandydover Sandy Dover


    As the seconds kept getting closer to the 1:43, I laughed even harder, lol.

    This was too funny.

    And I agree with what you said about MJ being himself in his own speaking words. I do think he was petty, but I do reward his honesty. I think in context, it shows that his Induction brethren are maybe more spiritual, and therefore more thankful and more gracious as a by-product, but he was honest, I suppose. I was hanging on every word, too. I honestly wish he would’ve talked longer. I would’ve watched for an hour of him talking.

  • Joe

    I didn’t like the speech. Didn’t like the arrogance.

  • http://Odebu@gmx.net Darksaber

    Well played, Boing. Well played indeed.

  • Kris

    I think the speech is taken out of context. Mike to me was basically saying what motivated him to play basketball at the highest level, what made him practice for hours upon hours, the fuel that light his fire. People saying he couldn’t do this and he couldn’t do that on that basketball court, he wanted to prove them wrong. The lesson we can learn from him is using this same philosophy of proving people/the world wrong when they doubt our ability and what we can achieve as a human being, whether as a ball player, student, reporter or whatever. We shouldn’t yield to criticism instead we should use it to fuel our determination to reach our goals. I think this is what his message was.

  • http://fjdklf.com Jukai

    JodythePresidoRecLegend: exactly what crap did the biggest athlete of all time by a large margin take?

  • Ramon Ariel


  • Jelli

    Hated, the speech. Love the fact that he gave it. Everyone who loves to sniff MJ’s jockstrap because they assumed he being a great player makes him a great man finally got smacked across the face.

  • Jellis

    Hated, the speech. Love the fact that he gave it. Everyone who loves to sniff MJ’s jockstrap because they assumed he being a great player makes him a great man finally got smacked across the face.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    @ Lang. AMEN brother

  • vic21

    I wish more journalists were like you Lang. I agree 1000%. I loved the speech. For me it wasn’t surprising or shocking because I always knew how Jordan was and I love MJ the way he is.

    When Karl Malone give his “nice” induction speech next year, everyone will be happy, even when the mailman didn’t deliver as a man or as a father (Demetrius Bell), but the media and the society in general will be pleased because he will be nice and he will kiss everyone’s ass, just the way America likes it.

  • vic21

    I wish more journalists were like you Lang. I agree 1000%. I loved the speech. For me it wasn’t surprising or shocking because I always knew how Jordan was and I love MJ the way he is.

    When Karl Malone give his “nice” induction speech next year, everyone will be happy, even when the mailman didn’t deliver as a man or as a father (Demetrius Bell), but the media and the society in general will be pleased because he will be nice and he will kiss everyone’s @ss, just the way America like it.

  • BostonBaller

    I was shocked to hear what the speech contained (I still haven’t heard it for myself) but I’m glad he was real and not corporate. We all knew MJ was always going to be corporate and we knew why so no one should have faulted him for it. Smart business 101. I agree that he could have chosen a different venue to finally speak his mind but here he had a “captured” audience of millions. If he would have waited and sat with some Ahmad or Wilburn everyone would have crucified him for his “audacity” to call a press conference just to berate people. He was in a lose lose situation so why not reach the masses and lay the smackdown on millions with one punch?Someone please let me know exactly why he was considered an analcircle during his career?

  • pablo (from argentina)

    MJ is the reason why I love this game

  • Jaymon

    Lang…amen. I felt the exact same way. It was the greatest, most honest and human speech I’ve ever heard him give. I’m glad he went out that way…

    Oh, and Ryan…suck it! The man is the G.O.A.T. and you know it. I have to say I’m sad you feel that way, though, since you were my second favorite editor behind Tony (a very distant second, I might add). But now it’s Russ. Fool !

  • Jason Williams

    lang whitaker is a white clown who shouldnt even cover the nba. he doesnt know sh!t about basketball. slam is a terrible publication that needs to be slammed.

    Jason White Chocolate Williams

  • matt the other jazz fan

    hate him even more after this

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    i know i’m late, but is there somewhere i can watch the entire speech?

  • chintao

    MJ is like the musical “Cats”. Eff him — now and forever. I might make a trip to the hall just to hock a loogey on his bronze.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Chintao: in the words of the mad genius Dr. Evil (or was that Blofeld?? hmm) “i’ve been expecting you, Mr. Chintao”. You never disappoint my man.

  • Sam C.

    That speech was simply from the heart hes telling the real jerks that cuz of u, i owned u

  • lou

    I don’t see what the big deal is. I personally loved the speech, I thought it was playful and heartfelt. I don’t see why anyone has the reason to call him an asshole. It’s not like he went up there and was like I’m the best, and I am the reason a lot of you MFers don’t have any rings in your trophy case. If Bryon Russel called him out and fueled his return, he has the right to speak on it. He did take the high road on the freeze out. He was still humble about being the best ever. I mean mid-speech he did come off a lil country for a minute, but he got back on track. Maybe mentioning that he had to pay for the seats was in bad taste, but if they raised the price just because he was being inducted, then he has the right to speak on it. (I don’t know if its true or not, just saying) He gave credit to Starks, and Pat Riley, for being competitive. I just don’t see how he can be egotistical while he wasn’t bragging, I been playing ball in NYC for a very long time and that was not bragging or sh*t talking, believe me. The man was dead nice, and Bryon Russell should never have thrown shots at the king. Russell got it twice big time, he had his chance to stop him twice, and failed. so did Craig Ehlo, and there are countless others. Just pay respect and keep it moving, there will never be another MJ. Just a word on todays stars, I’m not saying they wouldn’t have been successful back then, but please take into account the defensive rule changes that protect today’s superstars. The Pistons would have all been tech out for what they did to him, if they played today. He accomplished all he did while playing defense too, yeah I know Kobe is this defensive wizard now but he doesn’t compare defensively to Jordan. Kobe is a watered down version of Jordan. I just wish he was number one on the all time scoring list but Kareem did play till he was 41, and didn’t retire twice, or play with the Wizards

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Blinguo

    I heard someone managed to pee on his statue outside the Bulls Arena chintao.
    The SLAM Jordan issue, bought to help support SLAM even if they’re already paid for and its only paying the supermarket, he talks about playing up to New York standards, loving playing there as they know their basketball, how everyone comes there to see the best basketball, loyal fans, etc. in some old interviews with Russ & Tony G.
    albie it should be on NBA.com, and Chris O’Leary posted a recap and the embed video too. Under SLAM TV archive tag/Michael Jordan/Soul Searching blog.
    September 15, 2009 11:02 am
    The Cost Of Winning
    MJ showed us it ain’t always pretty.

  • thalilbigkahuna

    Are you gonna post the winners of that NBA Live 2010 contest you had?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/LetYourGameSpeak81 J

    I don’t see why all of you children are getting your hackles up, the man had to put up with alot of bullsh*t in his career, how would you like constantly being compared to others instead of being appreciated for who you are and what you do? It’s like being a painter and people always saying your art reminds them of someone. That would get annoying.
    None of us know what happened between Jordan and specific people, so anything we say or think is merely speculation. I don’t see anything wrong with Jordan always wanting to win everything he does, quite frankly I think that being willing to roll over and lose is a character flaw which is becoming all too prevalent in people these days. Imagine it from an evolutionary stand point, if every creature just bent over and died/lost,gave up, then they would die out as a species.

  • http://double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    RIP J-Dilla, he’s up in here….yeah.

  • fatjeansince88

    Michael Jordan. I love the man, I love the speech, and I love everyone who hates, dislikes, or is offended by what he had to say. I am great too; we do not concern ourselves with anything lesser. Anyone mentioned by Mr.Jordan should be honored that their names were spoken by him at that event.

  • http:///realcavsfans.com Anton

    Steve Nash