A Brick of a Speech

Pejman Yousefzadeh, New Ledger, September 13, 2009

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I can certainly appreciate [Michael] Jordan’s competitive instincts, and to say the least, they manifested themselves in the course of his speech. It is obvious that in addition to the inner fire that carried him from triumph to triumph on the basketball court, there were a number of slights and insults along the way that fueled his will to win still further. Jordan channeled those slights and insults in the best way possible while a player; the best revenge is beating the people who dissed you, and Jordan certainly got his revenge on anyone stupid enough to talk smack about him and/or his game. But there was no reason whatsoever to remind people of those slights–and Jordan’s lingering resentment–on the occasion of his induction into the Hall. Jordan’s speech was an opportunity to be magnanimous, gracious, humble, and appreciative of all of the people who helped him achieve what he achieved. As for the people who upset or slighted him, the best answer would have been silence; Jordan’s induction into the Hall of Fame meant that those people failed in their efforts to either diminish or outright sabotage His Airness’s career, and there was, therefore, no reason whatsoever to mention them. {snip}

About Jordan’s remarks to his kids . . . well . . . the less said the better. But how does any father tell his kids–while the whole world is watching, no less–that it is going to suck to be them because there will be no way for the kids to get themselves out of their father’s shadow? Instead of encouraging his kids to live their dreams and make their own way, Jordan seemed to lord his accomplishments over his children. The word “scummy” comes to mind.

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