Jordan, Stockton, Admiral, Sloan and Stringer get their due

09.12.09 9 years ago 44 Comments

Doing what we do for a living, we get to experience some very cool events that often include at least one surreal moment or two. Last night’s induction ceremony for the ’09 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class was no different. Of course there was the general shock and awe you get anytime Michael Jordan makes a public appearance, but beyond that, the weirdest moment of the night was when we spotted Dennis Rodman in the building. The odds on Worm even being aware of the H.O.F. festivities — let alone knowing he had a good reason to be there and showing up on time — were slim to none … With respect to the rest of the inductees, the night was really all about Jordan. All day on our writers and readers shared their top MJ memories and highlights — the Flu Game, the dunk on Ewing, the 72-win season, the ’96 Finals, and some of his hottest AJ sneakers — and Mike delivered on the stage when everyone was expecting something great. A couple minutes into his speech, Mike dropped a “shit” that somehow slipped past the ESPN censors, and from there was pretty entertaining. Mike was more emotional than we would’ve expected from a dude who’s always on some other level of smooth, and even during his speech you saw his competitive streak rearing its vicious head on occasion … Jordan also tried to debunk the idea that he and Isiah Thomas have beef. He shook hands with Isiah when Zeke left the stage following John Stockton‘s speech, and during MJ’s speech, said the whole “freeze-out” story never meant anything to him … Other than Rodman, the most random sighting was probably Malik Rose, but of course he had a good reason to be there as he was with the Spurs contingent for David Robinson. Other notables in the crowd: Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen, Gregg Popovich, Avery Johnson, Toni Kukoc, Scottie Pippen, Dean Smith, Pat Riley, Roy Williams, Sean Elliott, Thurl Bailey, Jeff Hornacek and Trent TuckerStockton is like 300% more funny than we would’ve expected, but none of his humor is malicious. One of the non-funny highlights of Stock’s speech was when he thanked his wife and said something to the effect of, “I knew that when I left for a road trip, I could just shut the door and go to work, because she was taking care of everything at home.” And that right there is exactly why no dude will ever marry Tila Tequila … So according to the video tribute to Jordan, the Wizards era just didn’t exist. Any complaints? … Real exchange between two of us during Robinson’s speech: (1) “Your man Duncan couldn’t put on a tie tonight? Really?” (2) “Hey, it’s still summer. You’re lucky he’s not wearing board shorts and sandals.” … Interesting how Jerry Sloan managed to throw Howard Eisley into his list of notable/favorite players he’s had in Utah, and yet no mention of Andrei Kirilenko. No love for Mehmet Okur either … Admittedly, we dropped the ball in not having anyone write about C. Vivian Stringer in our “Pass the Mic” series of H.O.F. reflections. And then it looked even worse when Stringer delivered the best speech of the night. Winning in college ball is some combination of X’s-and-O’s, motivation and recruiting, and you can just tell that Stringer is a master at the motivation part … Fortunately, they interviewed Cappie Pondexter for Stringer’s tribute video before Cappie got that half-mohawk Janelle Monae thing she’s got on her head right now … Oh, there were a few NBA moves yesterday: The Bucks didn’t match Minnesota’s offer sheet for Ramon Sessions, the Knicks signed Gabe Pruitt, and the Clippers re-signed Steve Novak, a.k.a. Mike Dunleavy Sr.‘s favorite decoy … Stat lines from yesterday’s FIBA European Championships: Timofey Mozgov led Russia with 18 points and eight boards in a win over Croatia; Vasileios Spanoulis dropped 20 points and seven dimes in Greece’s win over Germany; and five players, including Tony Parker and Nic Batum scored between 13 and 14 points for France in their win over Macedonia … Classic example of thinking too much about something, displayed by one of our boys in a recent e-mail: “In Coming to America, if Eddie Murphy doesn’t even know what’s going on in the basketball game and clearly knows nothing about the sport, how did he know BEFOREHAND that not having a basketball team meant you were a small school? Remember when he said he went to the University of the United States, and they were so small they didn’t have a basketball team?” … We’re out like the freeze-out …

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