CHARLOTTE — When Michael Jordan was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena, he did what he's done so many times before.
He made it special.
Going to midcourt for the ceremony at halftime of the Charlotte-Toronto game, Jordan shared the walk with Dean Smith, his coach at North Carolina. Walking on a light blue carpet, Smith and Jordan escorted each other for the long overdue moment.
Jordan became the 274th member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, accepting the award in front of several thousand fans and more than two dozen previously inducted hall members.
Fans began cheering when a video of Jordan's basketball highlights played on the arena's big screen and listened as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson offered video tributes to their longtime friend and rival.
"I have great respect for Michael Jordan," Bird said. "He put his heart and soul on the court every night."
Johnson said: "He made you wish that for one day you could fly in the air and he made you wonder what it would be like."
Wearing a gray pinstripe suit, Jordan spoke briefly during the ceremony.
"I can't ever say thank you enough," Jordan told the crowd. "Every time I pulled on a uniform, whether North Carolina or Chicago or even Washington, I knew I represented my state - North Carolina.
"I'm very happy to come back home to see what I can do for basketball in my home state."
email@example.com or 704-358-5118