The NBA has produced many basketball superstars over the years, but not many can compare to the success of Michael Jordan. He was easily the most popular sports star and he became a household name and a hero to many young, aspiring athletes and ambitious individuals.
Most people think that basketball was pretty well second nature to Michael and that he probably started dribbling once he began to walk. While he certainly had talent, he wasn’t considered to be one of the best growing up. In fact, he had his failures which helped him become a more successful person in the long run. His failures were truly the undisguised drive he needed to be on top.
His Childhood And Upbringing
Born as the fourth child into a highly competitive family, Michael was born in Brooklyn, NY. His family would soon after move to North Carolina when he was a toddler. With two older brothers, he had enough motivation and expectations to live up to the family’s high standards.
Baseball, football and basketball came easy to Michael and while he was definitely good at sports, his brother, Larry, was much greater. Larry and Michael were often engaged in competitive matches around the backyard. Larry was a great athlete that he was projected to be the star of the family. It was this competitive force in the family, which helped Michael to grow and become a better athlete.
Michael Gets Cut From His Highschool Team
The basketball coach at the local high school got to know Michael through Larry’s success. Michael was invited to a summer basketball camp before starting his sophomore year of high school. He was asked to try out for the varsity basketball team which he had a great chance of making. However, when the varsity team was announced, Michael’s name was not on that list. He was cut because he did not make the height requirement and the coach thought it would be better for him to play on the junior varsity team instead. While he was only in high school, this had become a turning point in Michael’s career.
Determined to Prove Himself
Being cut from the team was devastating for Michael. He stared at the list thinking that the coach had mistakenly left off his name. That day he went home and cried.
His mother quickly used this as an opportunity to motivate Michael. Her words of encouragement:
“She said that the best thing I could do is to prove to the coach that he had made a mistake. And, leaving my disappointment behind, I started to improve my performance.”
He picked himself up and accepted his position on the junior varsity team. Michael was known as a dedicated player, but he quickly took his game to the next level on the junior varsity steam. He began to train intensely and even showed up to practice before school in the morning. He quickly became the star of the team by shooting a few 40-point games. While he was still shorter, the word got around that he was doing so well and soon, varsity players were showing up at the junior varsity games to watch how he played. The next summer, ambition had served it’s course and Michael grew four inches while earning a spot on the varsity team roster.
The Success that Followed
After being selected for the varsity squad in high school, Michael excelled. He averaged 20 points per game during the final two seasons of his high school career. When he was a senior, he was chosen to be on the McDonald’s All-American Team.
He quickly became the interest of many college basketball programs and was recruited by universities such as South Carolina, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia and Syracuse. Eventually, Michael accepted a scholarship to North Carolina where he would get his classic baby blue uniform.
Michael’s success carried over into his college years where he averaged 13.4 points per game which earned him the Freshman of the Year award and a spot on the NCAA All-American First Team. In 1984, he was drafted into the NBA to play for the Chicago Bulls.
More Failing And Falling Short
Michael Jordan is the most successful basketball player of all time, and that is directly because of how many times he failed throughout his career and life. When you look at it hindsight, it’s very mind boggling to also note how Michael was drafted 3rd overall, and not first. His competitive edge to be the best was apparent throughout his life and it was the reason he became so great.
When he had his eyes on the prize of winning an NBA title, it took him a staggering 7 years before he finally earned his keep. The rest would be history as he won 3 in a row, twice in his career to give him a total of 6 NBA rings.
From the outside only, it might seem like Michael Jordan was an overnight success. When most people are confronted with failure, they give up. Being cut from the team could have been the point where he stopped playing basketball. But what set Michael apart from others, is that he was determined to improve. When he put in the effort, he became one of the most successful basketball players of all time.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something.
But I can’t accept not trying.”