When Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame by David Thompson, many people enquired why.
Jordan addressed those questions in his own Hall of Fame enshrinement speech very succintly:
“I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately – why’d you pick David Thompson? I know why, and David knows why.”
“When I grew up in North Carolina, I was an anti-Carolina guy, I hated UNC. I fell in love with David Thompson, not only for the game of basketball, but also in terms of what he represents.”
“We all go through our trials and tribulations, and he definitely did, and I am inspired by that. When I called him and asked him to stand up for me, I knew I shocked the s**t out of him. I know I did.”
How did David Thompson inspire the generation of Michael Jordan?
The Skywalker, as Thompson was famously known, is one of the most entertaining players in NBA history. He got this nickname because of his ability to hang and ‘walk’ in the air before finishing. The parallels between his finishes and those of Michael Jordan are obvious.
Obviously, Thompson jumped out of the gym, and he had some really amazing hang-time moves. Jordan himself considers David Thompson to be the reason why measuring players’ vertical leaps became a norm:
“The whole term and the whole ‘measuring’ of vertical leap began with David Thompson. He vaulted off the ground, exploded off the ground. 44 inches was a lot – still is a lot. And you could tell when he was there above you, that he surprised you.”
Michael Jordan talking about David Thompson’s leaping abilty! pic.twitter.com/938AbHyr1b
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) July 20, 2020
Thompson played in the league for 9 years, but his career was ended tragically because of an off-court dispute. The trials and tribulations that Jordan referred to, however, don’t undo his brilliance on basketball courts.