Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hear Michael Jordan Cite the Hardships that Made Him Reach Higher

At Springfield Mass. on Friday (11 September 2009) Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

The ceremony took place at Springfield's Symphony Hall, because Jordan was too big a draw card for the Hall of Fame.

The move to the other building allowed for a crowd of about 2,600, more than double what the Hall can accommodate.

Logs on the Fire
Interestingly Jordan had special thanks for the knock backs and the people responsible for creating obstacles. Some saw this as unresolved hurts or unfinished business but it is instructive to see how these difficulties provided the catalyst to spur the champ on to greater heights.

Jordan in his acceptance speech was emotional but then he entertained the crowd with memories of these challenges that inspired him to get to basketball's birthplace:

The coach who cut him from the varsity as a North Carolina schoolboy by saying:
“I wanted to make sure you understood: You made a mistake, dude.”

There was Isaiah Thomas, who allegedly orchestrated a ‘freeze out’ of Jordan in his first All-Star game.

Jordan said, “I wanted to prove to you, Magic (Johnson), Larry (Bird), George (Gervin), everybody that I deserved (to be there) just as much as anybody else, and I hope over the period of my career I've done that without a doubt.”

He spoke of Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy – Jordan called him Pat Riley's ‘little guy’ – who accused Jordan of ‘conning’ players by acting friendly toward them, then attacking them in games.

“I just so happen to be a friendly guy. I get along with everybody, but at the same time, when the light comes on, I'm as competitive as anybody you know.”

Then there was the media who said Jordan, though a great player, would never win like Bird or Johnson.

Jordan said: “I had to listen to all that, and that put so much wood on that fire that it kept me each and every day trying to get better as a basketball player.”

Lastly, Utah's Bryon Russell. Jordan recalled meeting Russell while he was retired and playing minor league baseball in 1994 – and with Sloan looking on in horror – told of how Russell insisted he could have covered him if Jordan was still playing. Russell later got two cracks at Jordan in the NBA finals, and he was the defender when Jordan hit the clinching shot to win the 1998 title.

Jordan said, “From this day forward, if I ever see him in shorts, I'm coming at him.”

Still Not Done
Jordan might still not be done for he shared this concluding word:
“One day you might look up and see me playing a game at 50. Don't laugh. Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”

See and Listen to Michael Jordan
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Brian Mahoney, Michael Jordan Inducted Into Basketball Hall of Fame, Huffington Post, 11 September 2009.

President Obama Inspires Children by Telling about Michael Jordan’s Failures, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 8 September 2009.

On Related Sites
Fujairah for Blue Skies, Beaches and Diving, Fujairah in Focus, 11 September 2009.

The Swiss Advantage in the America’s Cup, America’s Cup in the UAE, 12 September 2009.

Ted Kennedy’s Inspiring Last Letter to President Obama, Stories for Speakers and Writers, 11 September 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

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Image: Michael Jordan speaking at his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.