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Michael Jordan's HOF Speech Was Not Insulting but Rather Inspirational

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Jordan reacts during his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Ari HoringSenior Analyst ISeptember 13, 2009

Michael Jordan's controversial Hall of Fame speech he gave this past Friday has been characterized by some as petty, bitter, and cruel. One article on Yahoo! Sports in particular has been getting a lot of attention.

He has been criticized for supposedly taking "shots" at people, thanking the wrong people, concentrating too much on his competitive nature, and trying to get one last "slam dunk" on everyone.

Although I disagree, I can completely see how some people reacted that way to his speech. If you're not a competitive person or just don't understand Michael Jordan, that could likely be your reaction.

While some people may have thought Jordan seemed unsatisfied and bitter that he no longer played basketball anymore, I was in awe at the hunger still gleaming in his eyes six years later.

Jordan's speech—besides being very funny—was honest, candid, and original.

Although David Robinson, John Stockton, and Jerry Sloan all gave touching speeches, in reality we have heard those same types of speeches a hundred times before from other players.

But Jordan, just like he showed on the court, showed again why he is so unique during his speech. The truth is that Jordan's speech symbolized exactly who he is.

Michael Jordan didn't become the greatest player ever just because he was the most talented, but because he worked harder than everyone else.

The recurring theme is his speech was that he found motivation in everyone and everything to make him want to work harder.

Now I know that the people he supposedly slighted during his speech weren't actually being "thanked" for giving him that motivation like some might say, but the speech wasn't about them.

It wasn't meant for his supposed "victims."

It wasn't meant for his family and friends.

It wasn't meant his teammates and coaches.

It wasn't even meant for Jordan himself.

Michael Jordan's speech was directed at that ordinary person who is looking for inspiration and motivation.

Now I know there are those that would say that winning and being the best, like Michael Jordan was, aren't everything, but I hope those same people don't believe that following your dreams isn't as well.

Jordan's dream was to be the best, and he found motivation in every little thing, whether it be a major thing like being cut from his high school varsity team, which he mentioned in his speech, or not being allowed to hang out with opposing players he was friends with by opposing coaches, which he also mentioned.

Jordan's speech should remind all of us not to be content with our lives, but to constantly find motivation in everything to make our dreams and reality the same thing.

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