UNCOMPROMISING: Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech has been subject of discussion but it was just another way of him doing things the same way he’s done it for years.Â
Jordan enters Hall of Fame on his terms
If you didn’t know what drove Michael Jordan to be arguably the greatest NBA player to ever lace ’em up, you now know after his Hall of Fame speech.
A speech that’s been criticized for being “petty” and not gracious enough was perhaps the first time we’ve seen Jordan at his most honest and revealing.
We learned that he got his competitive nature from his brothers, sister and late father.
We heard how criticism fueled him to be best.
“For someone like me who achieved a lot, you look for any kind of messages that people may say or do to get u motivated to play basketball at the highest level,” Jordan said.
That should come as no surprise to the majority of those who watch basketball and had any awareness of what being a superstar is about.
Anyone who watched Jordan play knew that he had a furious drive to win and anybody who knew his gambling habits knows that it carried off the court as well.
That dig at Byron Russell? More of a humorous anecdote than needling a defeated foe.
That shot about playing at 50? Does that sound out of character considering he unretired twice?
For years, Jordan has been criticized for not speaking his mind, not showing the human side to his iron will. Well at his speech, we got Jordan uncovered and, at one point, uncensored.
Those critical of his speech wanted him to be something he wasn’t. Maybe he should have been more gracious but the fact is he was and he’s long since been doing things his way.
He’s never had Magic Johnson’s charm or the pleasant attitude of fellow 2009 Hall of Famer David Robinson, whose speech exemplified his character and grace. But in his own way last week, he showed why he’s still one of the most captivating figures of our time.
It was done like he’s done everything in his career – crafted his way with no interest in how anyone felt about it. It may not be how some wanted it, but since he’s never tried to
please everybody in his career, why should he start now….
Serena Williams, on the other hand, stole the spotlight from what should have been a great U.S. Open finish – one that included her 10th Grand Slam doubles title with her sister Venus.
But her semifinal outburst, which cost her the match and $10,000 in fines, was far from the brouhaha people are making it out to be.
Looking at the video, Williams cursed out a line judge and threatened to stuff a tennis ball down her throat. It was brief anger but no worse than a lapse in judgment most athletes show in the heat of the moment.
Let’s be honest, Williams’ action was no worse than what John McEnroe did in his prime. While that’s seen as colorful and a part of McEnroe’s mystique, I doubt that will happen with her brief tantrum to the line judge.
The judge, a short woman, said she was scared and feared for her safety. Given that Williams is a muscular woman, I could see why but let’s not assume that there’s a two-fold problem here with what she said.
I doubt someone would’ve said that about Andy Roddick or Roger Federer. Had a man said that, it would have been seen as threatening but not cause for alarm.
Let’s even flip the gender. What if Williams’ opponent, Kim Clijsters, had made the same comment with the same anger? Would the reaction have been the same?
This by no means excuses what Williams did. The punishments levied at her are deserving, as well as a suspension if the WTA sees fit to do so.
Besides, threatening to shove a ball down someone’s throat isn’t a scare tactic; it’s the precursor to a fight. Regardless if the call was right or not, she let her emotions cost her a match.
If I’m that line judge, I would have been more scared if Williams threw her racket, screamed down the judges who came to discuss the matter and was louder with her profanity. The fact is, she merely voiced her displeasure and moved on was no reason to be scared unless you consider who it’s coming from.
The whole thing was an overreaction to an unfortunate incident and both circumstances ended what should have been a fantastic Grand Slam event on a sour note.