Skywalker had a huge impact on the basketball career of Michael Jordan. I’ve tried to let that sink in a little bit, but, it’s just too monumental an accomplishment. I’m sure David Thompson is far more proud of everything he did in college, the ABA, and the NBA, but this feat is his and his only: a large influence on arguably the best there ever was. Thompson was asked by MJ to induct him in to the Hall today in Springfield, Massachusetts. For David, it doesn’t compare to being included in the Hall himself, but when Michael’s Hall of Fame induction is mentioned in the future, Skywalker’s name will be too – not a bad little star on the resume of a fantastic player. Thompson joined 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh to discuss how similar MJ’s game was to his, why Bill Walton is cramping his style, the showmanship of MJ in comparison to his own, and whether or not he was shocked to be asked by Jordan.
Were you shocked that an NC guy asked an NC State guy to send him in to the Hall?
“Considering it was a pretty big rivalry, I was a little bit surprised but I’ve known from comments in the past that Michael was a big fan of mine, and he had told me on a number of occasions and some of the clinics we had spoken to, told young kids that I was an inspiration in his life. So, you know, I was a little surprised because of all the great coaches and players from North Carolina that’s already in the Hall of Fame that he would pick me from NC State, but it just shows the impact that ACC basketball has on young kids as they’re growing up.”
On how much of his game he saw in Michael’s:
“Yeah, I see a lot of my game in Michael’s game: he had the quick first step and could really get off the floor, was a guy that really liked to take it to the basket and finish strong, and had the desire to win and was very competitive. Michael Jordan was a great, great NBA player, and I’m just proud to be a part of this special event for him.”
How similar were you guys in the air?
“We both were very creative; I came up with some pretty special dunks of my own, some 360′s and windmills, and I guess those guys that see other guys do dunks, they can take it to another level. We both had great dunks, we both had great vertical leaps, we both put on a great show, we both were guys that people enjoyed watching that would have a couple plays in the game where people would get out of their seats, and say, ‘Wow, did you see that?’ Just to be a great entertainer at any level of basketball was something I tried to do, and certainly Michael Jordan did it in a great way.”
Do you have your speech planned or are you going to wing it?
“Well, they don’t do the speeches like they do before, I think Bill Walton ruined that – he gave an hour-long induction speech. Since they have it on TV and they have a time frame, they do a lot of the stuff on tape now. They came in and did like an hour interview with me; they’ll take bits and pieces from people that were influential in Michael’s life and show that as a part of the induction ceremony. My honor is the fact that I get out there and walk and escort him on to the stage and be out there on stage.”