Why Did Michael Jordan Pick David Thompson to Present Him Into the Hall of Fame?
In 2009, Michael Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame and gave one of the best speeches. The six-time champion finished his career with averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 1,072 games with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards and is universally recognized as the greatest NBA player of all time.
During his speech, Jordan thanked a bunch of people, which was to be expected. The Bulls legend started the night by talking about David Thompson, who presented Jordan into the Hall of Fame.
At the time of the speech, many people were wondering why Michael Jordan picked David Thompson. After hearing MJ’s answer, though, it made all the sense in the world.
No one in NBA history may ever top Michael Jordan’s Bulls career
In two stints with the Bulls, Michael Jordan averaged 31.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. He won six titles, six Finals MVPs, five regular-season MVPs, three All-Star Game MVPs, and 10 scoring titles in Chicago. Jordan was also the 1985 Rookie of the Year and the 1988 Defensive Player of the Year. He’s only the third player in league history to win MVP and DPOY in the same season.
Behind Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the Bulls went 6-0 in the Finals during the ’90s. Chicago defeated the LA Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Seattle SuperSonics, and Utah Jazz (twice). The Bulls never played in a Game 7 during the Finals, as Jordan never allowed it to happen.
MJ prevented Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and John Stockton from winning championships. He was friends with all three guys off the court, but on the floor, Jordan was out for blood and made sure he did everything he could to kill his pals.
Michael Jordan’s basketball dream started in Wilmington, North Carolina, but not because his dad or mom inspired him to play. That title goes to David Thompson, one of the best NBA players in league history and a Hall of Fame inductee in 1996.
Michael Jordan was inspired by David Thompson
David Thompson played his college basketball at NC State. Michael Jordan, who went to North Carolina, watched Thompson dominate his opponents at NC State as a kid and was inspired by him.
During his three-year run at NC State, Thompson averaged 26.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He won the NCAA championship in 1974, as NC State defeated Marquette by a final score of 76-64 behind Thompson’s 21 points.
Thompson played in the ABA and NBA after his college days ended. He finished his decorated career with averages of 22.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. During the 1977-78 season, Thompson scored 73 points while playing for the Denver Nuggets. It’s the fourth-most points ever scored in a basketball game.
During his Hall of Fame speech, Michael Jordan talked about how David Thompson was his childhood hero. In typical MJ fashion, His Airness also cracked some jokes for the crowd.
MJ said he shocked the sh*t out of David Thompson
Michael Jordan kept getting asked by his friends why he was picking David Thompson to present him into the Hall of Fame. The 14-time All-Star not only explained why he chose Thompson, but Jordan delivered a funny quote as well.
“As I grew up in North Carolina, I was an anti-Carolina guy. I hated UNC,” Jordan said. “I was in love with David Thompson, not just for the game of basketball, but in terms of what he represented. We all go through our trials and tribulations, and he did, and I was inspired by him. When I called him and asked him to stand up for me, I know I shocked the sh*t out of him. I know I did.”
The entire crowd at the Hall of Fame ceremony started laughing after Michael Jordan’s last line about David Thompson. Although he was emotional throughout his speech, MJ made sure to throw in some jokes.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.