In Honor of Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame Induction: Get Your Basketball On with Leroy Smith – The Master Motivator
“M.J. was introduced as the greatest player ever and he’s still standing there trying to settle scores,” one Hall of Famer said privately
In the lead-up to and in the wake of Michael Jordan’s big Hall of Fame induction weekend and the (disturbingly petty) speech he gave during it, Nike has been pushing these “Leroy Smith” viral videos. Question is, Who is Leroy Smith?
Check it, Savvyites:
Harvest Leroy Smith is the reason Michael Jordan had to play JV throughout his sophomore year of high school. He’s the man who beat out MJ for the last spot on the Laney High School varsity basketball team, and now he’s an internet meme with Charlie Murphy’s face.
Jordan says getting cut from the varsity high school team was a major turning point in his life, so much so, he even invited the man who got his spot, Leroy Smith, to his Hall of Fame induction. Looks like MJ’s obsessed.
During his speech (which, like I said, is doused with petty whines and weird ramblings) he makes Smith out to be just some goon who played high school ball and only made the team over MJ because some cosmic architect was trying to shape his competitive nature. What he doesn’t mention is that Smith was at least good enough to play ball at UNC-Charlotte, and then overseas in various minor leagues before he decided to quit and settle in with a sales job, get married, and have kids like a regular human being.
However, when Jordan mentioned his version of the Smith story to Nike executives, they created an ad campaign based around a washed up “man who claims to have motivated Michael Jordan”. Granted, it really screws with the image of the real Leroy Smith, but it is effing hilarious. Strangely, I don’t see any plugs for Nike anywhere in these videos. Maybe this is part of Nike’s anti-advertising thang. Whatever it is, they’re really pushing it, there are 15+ videos on the Youtube.com account and there’s even an NBA.com interview with the fake Smith.
So check it, here’s the complete collection:
Leroy Smiths Hall of Fame Petition