Monday, September 14, 2009

Jordan's Acceptance Speech

Note: This is a shortened version of his full speech which ran about 30 minutes total and had much more emotion at the beginning.

As I have written before (here and here), speeches matter. Especially these days when real life gets digitized and preserved forever online. It will be interesting to see how, if at all, this touches Jordan's legacy.

I heard about this speech before I actually heard the speech. Once I watched and listened, I went searching for more video that matched the descriptions I had heard. I guess I just don't see what many others claim they see.

It seems like every blogger and sports talk host with an ax to grind took the opportunity to paint Jordan as a disgruntled bully with no grace or sense of gratitude. I agree that he used this platform to remind us of the various grudges he carried through his career but, unless you are purposely ignoring the structure of his message, it's obvious that he used those stories as literary props along the path to a bigger message. He was speaking about his sources of motivation and, I thought, paid respectful tributes to those who had challenged him along the way.

Throughout his career he played to win, stayed out of trouble, and served as a daily example of the relationship between hard work and success. Jordan is not the self-deprecating type and it would not have been fitting to see him take the stage and affect the kind of over-the-top humility that so many others invoke just because that is the socially expected approach to accepting an honor.

I thought his speech was honest and genuine and I give him credit for entering the HOF with the same flair and originality that earned him his entrance.

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