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Especially Jordan.

“His magic made him a brand,” Knight said, adding that Jordan’s division at Nike sells more now than when he was a player. “He is to the sporting goods industry what Nathan Hale, Patrick Henry, Che Guevara and Mao Tse Tung were to world politics.”

Nelson also gave James a shoutout in his speech, congratulating him for leading the Miami Heat to the NBA championship. “I know the feeling when I won the first one,” Nelson said.

Nelson won five NBA titles as a Boston Celtics player and then spent 31 years as a coach, winning an all-time best 1,335 games on the bench in Milwaukee, Golden State, New York and Dallas. He has since retired and moved to Hawaii, where he runs a coffee shop and shaved ice stand.

“Hopefully, this will be the last tuxedo I’ll be wearing,” he said. “There is life after basketball. Come out and have a cup of coffee with me in Maui.”

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Follow Jimmy Golen on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/jgolen.