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Video: Nike co-founder Phil Knight thanks Michael Jordan at Naismith Hall of Fame induction

By Ben Golliver | Blogger

What do a Continental Army soldier, an American founding father, an Argentinian Marxist revolutionary, a Central Committee of the Community Party of China chairman and Jesus Christ have in common?

The answer: they are all Jordanesque, at least according to Phil Knight.

The Nike co-founder was inducted as a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., on Friday night. NBA legend and swoosh seller Michael Jordan was on stage to present him.

Knight opened his speech with a series of thank you's, and his recognition of Jordan was one of the evening's most memorable moments.

"No conversation about who the greatest player of all time was can be held without including the name Michael Jordan," Knight said. "I was going to repeat that he's the main reason I'm here tonight, but then I realized that wasn't good enough. His magic made him a brand that enriched both of our lives artistically, poetically and financially."

And then came the historic comparisons.

"More than that, he revolutionized an industry and dominated a culture," Knight said. "He is to the sporting goods industry what Nathan Hale, Patrick Henry, Che Guevara and Mao Zedong were to the world of politics. The sporting industry will never be the same, and his brand today sells more product than when he was at the peak of his game."

Then, finally, Knight turned spiritual.

"I asked [emcee] Ahmad [Rashad], who in the world, who in the world, presented Michael Jordan to this group," Knight joked. "And he said, what they did was they flooded the Connecticut River and he walked across the water to the podium."

In case you were curious, Jordan was actually presented by David Thompson during his induction in 2009. It's unclear whether Jordan did or didn't really walk on water.

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