CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dell Curry had simply been honored because the 2019 Hometown Hero at All-Star Weekend, and the award presentation to the favored sharpshooter-turned-broadcaster for the Charlotte Hornets was extra-special as a result of his three youngsters — NBA gamers Steph and Seth Curry, and daughter Sydel — have been on stage to make it.
Moments later, although, an unofficial hometown hero stepped from behind the scenes on the Charlotte Civic Middle Sunday to ship an excellent greater buzz by means of the Legends Brunch crowd of an estimated 2,000 individuals.
Michael Jordan, arguably the NBA’s biggest participant ever and proprietor of the Hornets since 2010, made a shock cameo look to cap the annual All-Star celebration of the league’s historical past and pioneers.
Michael Jordan stated Tar Heels teammate Sam Perkins urged him to attend the brunch.
“I see plenty of outdated pals, plenty of outdated adversaries, some teammates,” Jordan stated. “You guys know right now is my 56th birthday — I look younger in comparison with plenty of you guys on the market.”
Jordan usually retains a low profile publicly. Regardless that All-Star Weekend had flushed him out a few instances heading towards Sunday night time’s sport, a number of the organizers of the brunch weren’t instructed he could be dropping by. However the occasion, offered by the Nationwide Basketball Retired Gamers Affiliation, is likely one of the highlights of the weekend every year and was attended by almost 200 former NBA gamers.
Apparently, an outdated school teammate from the College of North Carolina Tar Heels satisfied Jordan to be one in all them.
Glen Rice accepts the Legend of the 12 months Award.
“Sam Perkins nagged me for about two months to be right here,” Jordan stated. “I’m glad I selected to do that. It’s nice to see the vitality that you simply [fans] present to us, and to see the previous gamers and the chance that you simply offered to me.”
Along with Curry’s award, three different Hornets have been honored: Muggsy Bogues obtained the Neighborhood Ambassador Award, Alonzo Mourning was given the International Ambassador Award and Glen Rice was named Hornets Legend of the 12 months.
“I’m right here simply to congratulate the 4 guys who’ve finished an unbelievable job for town of Charlotte,” Jordan stated. “I performed in opposition to all 4 of these guys they usually have been true, true opponents. However the factor I like most about them — I’ve had the possibility to spend time with them — is what nice individuals they’re, and what they’ve finished for town.
Muggsy Bogues receives the Neighborhood Ambassador Award.
“After I ask them to be part of issues, I don’t get a ‘no’ from these guys.”
Corridor of Famer Spencer Haywood, chairman of the NBRPA board, spoke throughout this system concerning the improved advantages the retired gamers have obtained lately, due to monetary help from each the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation and the NBA. Amongst them: A well being care program for the league’s alumni and a rise of their pension funds.
Michele Roberts, govt director of the lively gamers’ union, praised the previous gamers for increase the league wherein right now’s members thrive. So did Jordan.
“To all of the legends, you guys paved the street for all of us,” he stated. “All the things that I’ve finished, I’ve paid tribute to you guys. I’m glad we have been capable of finding a way that we have been in a position to give issues again.”
Ernie Johnson reads his annual poem concerning the Legends.
Present Hornets All-Star guard Kemba Walker offered Bogues together with his award, showing within the morning regardless of his beginning spot within the night’s sport. Corridor of Famer and fellow Georgetown star Dikembe Mutombo launched Mourning, and Mourning in flip offered Rice’s award.
Singer-songwriter Anthony Hamilton carried out in the course of the poignant “In Memoriam” section of this system, wherein a slideshow of NBA figures who died for the reason that earlier Legends Brunch was projected on large video screens. TNT studio host Ernie Johnson had the group laughing and wincing with one other one in all his comedian, corny and yearly anticipated poems.
Member of the NBA neighborhood who handed away in the course of the move yr are remembered.
However comic JB Smoove, who opened the leisure, had the occasion’s funniest line, ripped from current headlines. Gushing in his reminiscence of Magic Johnson’s signature no-look passes — “He’d look you within the eyes and that ball is gone earlier than you already know it” — Smoove then warned gamers on the crew over which Johnson now presides.
“A few of you Lakers higher look out,” Smoove stated, “for the no-look commerce.”
Steve Aschburner has written concerning the NBA since 1980. You possibly can e-mail him right here, discover his archive right here and observe him on Twitter.
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