On this day 10 years ago, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrined one of its greatest classes.
The Class of 2009 included Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Jerry Sloan, John Stockton and C. Vivian Stringer.
Jordan, Robinson, Sloan and Stockton were all first ballots while Stringer had been a finalist before, though the coach who won more than 800 games in her career had Hall of Fame written all over her. Each of their inductions was a formality.
Not much needs to be said for Jordan, whose name is attached to titles, records and legends galore as one of the best to ever do it. Not known for his humility on the court, Jordan showed it at the enshrinement, where his induction had naturally taken a large amount of the headlines.
“Contrary to what you guys believe, it’s not just me going into the Hall of Fame. It’s a group of us,” Jordan said during his acceptance speech. “This is a privilege going in with two Olympian friends, Jerry Sloan, who’s from Chicago, and Vivian Stringer, who I’ve known since back in the day.”
It made sense, though, given Jordan’s illustrious career and impact on the game.
“We have all known that it was only a matter of time before Springfield came calling. What Michael did for the Chicago Bulls, the city of Chicago and the game of basketball can never be fully measured,” said Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf when the inductees were announced in April 2009. “Michael Jordan is the greatest player to have ever played the game and on behalf of our entire organization, we congratulate him on this honor.”
Hall of Famer Ann Meyers Drysdale spoke highly of the only woman to be inducted into the Hall in 2009.
“Vivian Stringer has done so much for the game of basketball,” Drysdale said. “She’s a terrific coach, teacher, mother, and mentor to so many. Really excited and proud for her.”
Robinson’s impact was also felt beyond his excellence on the court, as Spurs legendary coach Gregg Popovich explained.
“No David Robinson, no San Antonio Spurs,” said Popovich. “He’s the reason they’re still there.”
The fans who made the trip from around the world to see the incredible class felt incredibly fortunate to witness history.
“I’m privileged to be here right now, because who gets to see stuff like this every day?” said a fan at the event.