On Thursday, Tony and Mike opened PTI wondering why the NBA even attempts to cast its Hall of Fame inductions during the opening weekend of football season. Tony counted it as stupidity, Mike simply deflected, probably thrilled to land ESPN’s interview with Michael Jordan, reprinted and re-aired nearly a billion times Thursday.
And, with that, I’m sure the NBA is actually relieved its benchmark delivered a speech only slightly classier than a Sean Hannity diatribe.
I’m not going to offer much more than a snide comment. I have hated Michael Jordan for years, as a figurehead, as an egomaniac, as the foil to my Blazers, as simple Goliath. And now, that hate is legitimized.
Though it’s sad.
Michael Jordan has accomplished nearly everything he set out to do in his basketball career. He loves the game. And in return, as steward for that game, he chose to spend several minutes lambasting anyone and everyone who even thought to prove him wrong, decry him, or suggest they might like to compete against him.
He bullied former employers, teammates, and even threw his own children under the bus; yet another attempt to remind us of his own greatness. He invited the high school coach who would not let him onto the varsity team as a sophomore; never mind that the coach simply followed school policy – no sophs on the team. He eviscerated Bryon Russell, a foul as cheap and offensive as the push-off that fills his legend. He made fun, and made sure to tell us all what was so carefully guarded by Nike and a sycophantic media – He’s a jerk.
Sure, Jordan’s legions of defenders will characterize his petty tirade as refreshing, or honest (See: Wilbon, Mike. Whitlock, Jason. Kornheiser, Tony). Please. In no other profession or discipline are people allowed petty diatribes and a sheer lack of class; for someone who has his own brand, the lack of professionalism is hopeless. For Jordan to repeatedly characterize his petty bullying as his competitive legend does not cut it. He is a prick, he is a douchebag, he is petty, he is perhaps the best basketball player we’ve ever seen, and he insecurely cannot bear the thought of you not remembering him just as such.
And tonight, he’s in the Hall of Fame. But fear not, he’s more bitter and jaded than any of you. He’s alone, with trophies, women, sometimes both, millions and billions of dollars, legions of admirers, and several grizzled old guys who laud this “honest” speech (Read: PTI).
But he’s a shell. He’s not professional. He’s obsessed with his end in the limelight, and his end of relevance. He’s bitter, he’s jaded, he doesn’t know how to get old, and he’s stuck in his own life. He’s a bully and a pretentious jerk. And he knows it.
Now we know it too.