To this date, Michael Jordan remains the greatest athlete of all time for many sports fans. The NBA legend's popularity extended well beyond basketball and the USA and was probably one of the most famous Americans in the 90s. The Chicago Bulls icon is said to have saved the NBA as a league, inspiring countless people with his game as well as his words and principles.
Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2009. With an illustrious career behind him, his induction came as no surprise to anyone. Talking about his journey as he accepted the honour, Jordan's Hall of Fame speech is till date remembered by NBA fans.
At the Symphony Hall on a Friday night in 2009, Jordan walked up to deliver his speech tear-stained. The Bulls icon was first shown an eight-minute video, which looked back at the highlights of his unforgettable moments in the league. His speech, however, spoke about how he prepared himself for the competition, not going without mentioning some rivals and teammates.
His speech began with a mention and shoutout to Scottie Pippen – without whom Jordan might not have won his six titles. Even now, the duo is considered the best in the game. “And all the videos. You never just saw me, you saw Scottie Pippen. Every championship I won," Jordan said to start his speech. Pippen was inducted in 2010.
While his speech was seen as arrogant and petty by many, his mentions and words carried weight. In 2013, Jordan spoke to Ahmad Rashad for an NBA TV 'One on One' special, where he stood behind his speech, not having any regrets. "I said what
I wanted to say. I'm not going to change it," aware that many thought of it as the worst speech.
"Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion."
Yet, there were plenty of memorable quotes, especially as he ended it by asking everyone to remember that their limits and fears are mere illusions they can overcome.
This included Jordan speaking of a comeback when he is 50. Jordan knew he cannot come back, but said he will always believe that he could play basketball. "No, I'm not going to come back at the age of 50, although in my mind, I'm always going to believe I can play the game of basketball".
He even revealed that his favourite title was the fourth one (1996). Jordan had returned after a 15-month break, which also came after the murder of his father. Jordan played baseball during his time away, only to return and win another three-peat. Jordan won the title six times (1991 to 1993, 1996 to 1998), along with six Finals MVP awards. The 14-time NBA All-Star also bagged the MVP award five times, along with the Rookie of the Year (1985) and Defensive Player of the Year (1988).
Happy birthday, Michael Jordan 🐐— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) February 17, 2021
THE GOAT Part 1 pic.twitter.com/BoO7kVM4ZN