I think this is the best Hall of Fame class in the history of basketball. ( Primarily because of Mike! LoL )
The ballroom, and the crowd, were bigger. The buzz was greater. It was evident Monday that this wasn't just another Basketball Hall of Fame class.
It was Michael Jordan's coronation.
The North Carolina and NBA icon — wearing a dark pinstriped suit and Carolina blue tie on the day of the Tar Heels' national championship matchup with Michigan State — was introduced as one of five new inductees into the Hall. Joining him were two teammates on the USA's 1992 Olympic "Dream Team," center David Robinson and consummate point guard John Stockton.
Also to be enshrined Sept. 10-12 at the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.: Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and current Rutgers women's coach C. Vivian Stringer.
Finalists needed 18 votes from a 24-member Honors Committee for election. Chris Mullin, Dennis Johnson, longtime NBA coach Don Nelson and New Jersey high school coach Bob Hurley Sr. were among the candidates who fell short.
After three memorable years at Carolina and 15 seasons in the NBA, where he scored 32,292 points, was a five-time most valuable player and led the Chicago Bulls to six championships while becoming one of the world's most recognizable athletes, Jordan was a given.
At 46, his famous competitiveness still showed as he accepted the honor.
"This is not fun for me," he said. "I don't like being up here for the Hall of Fame because at that time your basketball career is completely over, the way I look at it. I would hope this day was three more years (away) or actually when I'm dead and gone.
"I always want to be able to have you think that I can always go back and play the game of basketball, put my shorts on. As long as you have that thought, you never know what can happen. And you never know what my abilities can do.
"Am I? No, but I like for you to think that way."
Jordan retired a first time from the Bulls in 1993, a second time in 1998 and a final time from the Washington Wizards in 2003. He's now a part-owner of the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, serving as the managing member of basketball operations.
Twenty-seven years after hitting a jumper with 16 seconds left to give North Carolina a national title as a freshman, he planned to watch the Tar Heels try to win another Monday night. Told that, in the event of overtime, he and former Michigan State star Magic Johnson would settle the tie with a game of one-on-one, Jordan smiled.
"You really think he can beat me?" he said.