MJ to introduce Nike founder for HOF induction
By Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY
Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all-time, delivered one heck of a memorable hall of fame speech back in 2009.
Now, he’ll get to introduce Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight on Sept. 7 as a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s class of 2012. Former Georgetown coach John Thompson will assist Jordan in presenting Knight.
Unlike the Pro Football and Baseball Hall of Fames, presenters do not read speeches. (That’s reassuring considering Jordan went on a verbal assault of those who doubted him back in that epic ’09 speech).
It’s fair to say Knight would not be getting inducted as a “contributor” if it weren’t for Jordan, who rose to stardom at the peak of a marketing fever in basketball. Jordan and Nike became synonymous in the 1990s when the five-time MVP led the Chicago Bulls to six championship rings. While the timing of Knight’s induction has been debated considering other great players haven’t made the cut yet, he played a significant part in growing the game globally (thanks to the help of Jordan).
Forbes.com recently estimated Knight, 74, to have a net worth of $14.4 billion. While other hoops stars like LeBron James have been linked to Knight, it was Jordan who took Nike to new heights as the company’s most famous endorser.
Jordan signed with with Nike in 1984 and hasn’t looked back since. His “Air Jordan” sneakers with the iconic “Jumpman” logo became the must-have sneakers and Jordan Brand was later created under Nike.