Michael Jordan: Dusting Yourself Off
“I’ve failed over and over and over again…”
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan
Born in 1963 to a middle-class family from Brooklyn, Michael Jordan grew up in North Carolina where his first setback was not making the varsity basketball team in high school his sophomore year. The coach deemed him too short at 5’10.
Instead of being discouraged, this setback fueled Michael’s ambition and he trained hard and played aggressively, becoming the star of the junior varsity squad by tallying several 40-point games. The next summer he grew four inches and because he had trained so rigorously he was ready to take his high school basketball career to the next level.
“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” -Michael Jordan
As a senior, Michael averaged 20-points over his last two years of high school play, and was courted by several college teams before deciding to play for North Carolina, where he majored in cultural geography.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” -Michael Jordan
In a moment that Michael Jordan would later describe as a major turning point in his career, he made the game-winning jump shot at the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown and one of his future NBA rivals, Patrick Ewing.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” -Michael Jordan
In the 1984 NBA draft, as we all know, Michael was picked by the Chicago Bulls where he would go on to popularize professional basketball to the entire world throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He was so popular among fans, he made the cover of Sports Illustrated just one month into his NBA career with the headline “A Star Is Born.”
“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” -Michael Jordan
Michael’s next major setback was when fans voted him to be an All-Star starter that year, and other veteran NBA players actually became jealous of all the attention he was getting, so they refused to pass him the ball throughout the game. Unaffected, he returned to regular season play and was voted Rookie of the Year.
“I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.” -Michael Jordan
Then Michael hit a major roadblock in his second season: he broke his foot in the third game of the year, and had to miss 64 games while recovering. When he returned in time for the playoffs, he set a record for points in a playoff game with 63 points scored in Game 2, a record that still stands. The next year, he became one of only two players in history (the other is Wilt Chamberlain) to score 3,000 points in a season.
“The key to success is failure. Failure makes me work even harder. I’ve never been afraid to fail.” -Michael Jordan
The greatest trial of Michael Jordan’s life was when his father was murdered by two teenagers in 1993. Devastated by the loss of his father, Michael retired from the NBA and announced he would play minor league baseball to honor a dream of his late father’s that he would be a great baseball player.
In 1995 after announcing his return to professional basketball with the two-word press release “I’m back,” Michael Jordan went on in the 1995-96 season to set a record for the best regular season in NBA history 72-10. The NBA officially states, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” In 2016, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.