Friday, September 11th, 2009 at 10:00 am  |  32 responses

Peter Vecsey’s Bitter HOF Speech

Needless to say, the Hall of Fame has probably never seen (and heard) anything like this from an honoree: “He seemed to have no notes. No thoughts. No … nothing. He began not by expressing his appreciation, but by rattling off all the shunned players he believed belonged in the Hall. From there, he just … babbled. About this. About that. He seemed to be drunk, but I don’t think he was … He used language one doesn’t use in a Hall speech. He called out people’s names (‘Calvin Murphy! Tiny Archibald!’), and you could literally see the man squirming in their seats. I was sitting about 10 feet from David Stern, who—throughout the ceaseless banter—dismissively shook his head while checking his Blackberry. Jordan, the star of the weekend, walked out. Just left, and never returned.”

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  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Stay classy, Viper.

  • ENDS

    Always Hated PV. Acted like he knew every damn player and trade in the League. GTHO

  • Hussman25

    Not a huge fan of his… never have and definately now never will… The Hall is not granted to everyone. Show some DAMN CLASS!

  • neaorin

    Oh please oh please let there be some video of that on YouTube. Although maybe David Stern was on his Blackberry telling his people to confiscate the tapes.

  • LeoneL

    Can he be kicked out of the Hall for that? j/k

  • http://barkleysmouth.com DV

    Living in the New York City metro area my whole life, I grew up reading Peter Vescey and found his words to be of biblical proportions. Is it a gross exaggeration? Maybe, but I found Vescey prophetic on many levels. Every Tuesday and Friday Vescey would reveal nuggets of NBA information and I took it all in the way Jenna Haze does.

    Truly, I believe that Vescey has become misunderstood and his style of writing in which he intimates having intimate knowledge of NBA happenings and players has become a bitter pill to readers because they cannot handle the magnitude of someone actually knowing players that said readers idolize. Yes, Kobe Bryant is human too.

    In any case, I find it very disrespectful of Michael Jordan walking out during Vescey’s speech. If it wasn’t for Vescey, there would never have been an Ahmad Rashad, allowing reporters and players to have a true relationship. Vescey is a basketball writing god.

    Okay, fine, I lied about everything above… except growing up in the NYC… and Jenna Haze taking it all in.

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    wow that sounds like something i’d wanna see. co-sign the calls for VIDEO IMAGES!!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Wow was the line I wrote in NOYZ for the new issue (on sale and onlien Monday!) prescient.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    That’s what the Hall of Fame gets for their stupid criteria. You reap what you sow.

  • oddball

    I’d like to see what he said. He’s got a sharp tounge but regarding the hall of fame stuff, whatever he said I’m sure is right since the hall is total bullshit!

  • http://www.digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    NBA.com has all the speeches up EXCEPT Vescey’s…surprise, surprise.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    It’s not even on youtube. Does the Viper have a contract with Nike that we don’t know about?

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    maybe a transcript somewhere?
    and so the espn broadcast we’ll be seeing later today was just a recording huh?

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven deuce

    He may have been acerbic when talking about players back in the day (hell, now as well), but he was usually right and very fact based. He’s a typical angry New Yorker I guess.

  • Joseph Vecsey

    I figured I’d put my up real name(even though on these types of sites most people are afraid to) and say something about this topic. I won’t even try to defend my father’s speech. There’s no point. I can’t look at it objectively and nobody would believe me if I said I was writing from that stand point. However, Jordan was disrespectful by walking out, but I’m amazed everyone has to exaggerate it. He left before Peter Vecsey was even introduced by Ernie Johnson. He did not walk out during. I just wanted to get that fact right since everyone is getting this fact wrong. It’s a shame nobody confirms facts anymore and just steals the news from other sites just so they don’t have to do any real work themselves.

  • ClydeSays

    The Viper!

    He’s actually decent on NBA TV. His column is funny if you take it for what’s it worth. 90% bs.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Umm, MJ just topped this. Nicely done, legend.

  • andre anglais

    Can we maybe get some confirmation/ fact checking before we close the book on PV folks? Ryne, Russ, anyone from the SLAM factory in Springfield last night?

  • jabez

    Let me get this straight, Peter Vescey is being vilified for standing up for overlooked legends of the game? You don’t like the guy, fine. But he has earned the right to speak and still does better work than any of these internet “journalists” who are trashing him. Shame.

  • Young Bo


    thats the link for the PV speech, if you think its like comically bad i warn you it really really isn’t. Didnt see MJ leaving during it, the end you kinda just feel bad for him, they did him wrong too not letting him introduce his family.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Co-sign jabez. How can you h@te the guy for standing up for players who have clearly been overlooked by the Hall of Fame? H@te him for not being gratuitous enough for his award, but don’t h@te the guy’s purpose.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Just to clarify a few things. All this post did is quote someone else’s story, which is what most of our news and rumors stories are built on (as opposed to the many original columns/blogs we run every day). Other than the word “bitter” and saying the speech was probably a first for the Hall of Fame, no judgements were passed. Most of us at SLAM love Peter Vecsey. He has written for us, helped us find old photos, and always been good for jokes when Lang and I bump into him at games. Not to mention he’ll still knock out as many must-read scoops/columns in a season as anyone else on the NBA beat. His son Joseph (who commented above–thanks for chiming in, Joe) has written a number of stories for this site. Plus, the gushing Hall of Fame stories we’ve run this week surrounding the exciting inductions notwithstanding, we DO have issues with who has been inducted, who has not been inducted, and the utter lack of accountability regarding who even makes those decisions. Lastly, my original comment above references a line I wrote in the new issue to the effect of: “we love peter vecsey but can’t believe he got in the Hall because he’s so anti-establishment.” And sure enough…

  • Al

    Even if PV’s speech was less than what most people desired, MJ put him to shame with his bully pulpit, I hate pretty much everyone speech. Since he retired as a player, his league rep as an exec is that he is a total joke.

  • Joseph Vecsey

    Thanks, Ben. I was cool with the article. I just wanted to put it out there that everyone was using the same miss information about the Jordan thing because every site is getting it from the same person it seems. Because even if this post is quoting someone else’s story, it’s now on this site and it’s not the correct facts. That’s all. All good.. Thanks for putting up your comment.

  • das knicks fan

    Mr. Vecsey (senior) has written some despicable columns over the course of his long career. Of course, “controversial columnist” is his basic job description and I can’t fault him for doing it well. That being said, I’ve sometimes wondered why some player he’d spent months deriding (Spencer “Driftwood” Haywood for one) didn’t haul off and punch him.

  • that dude

    Yeah I been hanging out for SLAM’s take on the Jordan speech. I didn’t see it but read the yahoo column that said he was a bully. What went down?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I thought Jordan’s speech was great. I’m sure we’ll have more on it tomorrow but this NY Times story got it pretty right IMO: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/12/sports/basketball/12nba.html?_r=1

  • that dude

    Thanks for the link Ben

  • http://n/a Triple Threat

    i thought Michael Jordan spoke at the level of the rest of general society. (Just my thought).

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    That NY times article was spot on.

  • jaygib

    Well first and foremost, Joe your father is one of the greatest writers of our time. He’s not only been involve during the A.B.A/NBA era but he made white collar society understand the Magic of the Black-top Game, he was a pioneer at the Rucker and many other summer tournements and he’s always been a great inside scoop writer when it comes to given vital information about the many things that are going to occur in the league, and besides he’s Quoted lyrics from Biggie on National T.V. so he’s good with me.lol, but anyway people don’t understand the fact that this man has did things his way, just like the majority of the Guy’s who played the city game and took it to the hard wood whether it be college or pro, they’ve always done it the NewYork way, and I commend him for his imput and everything that he’s done for inner city kids and the game of basketball itself.

  • solito

    I did not see Peter Vecsey’s speech, but I find it rather typical, that the one person, who has the chance to bring up topics nobody else would be able to voice over a turned on mike (at a ceremony that matters) is subject to an attempt to discredit him.
    What I know; anytime I have come across something Peter V has written, I have read the entire article. He states, if he is speculating, and he knows his sources. His writing is an interesting read EACH time. PLUS, he writes for an actual paper that gets printed. He is a journalist (Respect for going on national TV in a turtle neck and jeans, btw). So if you’re a blogger, you can be as proud as if you get paper published by Autotrader with your 1972 Dodge. ANYBODY CAN DO IT!