If you are a sports fan, you most likely watched the 10-part documentary “The Last Dance” on ESPN. It helped to take the edge off of living without any live sports and broke up the monotonous viewing of rerun games.
It has been touted the most watched documentary in the history of television. Michael Jordan will add to the $2.2 billion he has made both as a player and as a shrewd business person. He donated $10 million to charity, according to ESPN talking heads, from his portion of the proceeds for doing the documentary. He will make 10 times that after being reintroduced to younger generations. Nike and Jordan will both make big bucks off the story.
Discussions about who is the greatest of all time will continue in every sport throughout history. During the ’50s and ’60s, there were greats like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson. In the’ 70s and into the ’80s, Lew Alcindor, later to become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, dominated college and the pros. The ’80s brought in Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. They changed forever the face of professional basketball.
Then came Michael Jordan. The documentary provided a look into the road for Jordan through Magic and Bird in his run to the top of the mountain. The Detroit Pistons with Isiah Thomas and his “Bad Boys” created a road block that turned into the driving force for Jordan to become the legend he still is today.
This documentary clearly illustrated how, in order for a person or team to become the best, they must play and beat the best. All coaches should make their teams watch this part of the documentary. Every great athlete and team must have that fire in the belly to compete against the best.
The most important lesson to learn from Jordan is a drive and will to win. He invited challenges and was willing to personally sacrifice to win. There are many ways to be successful, but the most important is to be true to yourself.
Many of Jordan’s teammates did not like the way he handled himself as a teammate, but they understood his will during competition. He stated in the documentary, “I never asked my teammates to do anything that I wouldn’t do.” That is the fair statement that good teammates understand. In his eyes you are either in or you are out. He lived by that rule.
He may not be remembered as a nice guy, but he was straight up and honest about his expectations for both himself and those around him. He led by example and believed in hard work as the way to get to the top. Michael Jordan could not live with losing at anything.
The greatest in any sport can always be argued, but without question Jordan will remain one of the greatest competitors of all time. Greatest competitors possess passion, a strong will, a love for the moment, mental toughness, control of the controllable, poise, self-discipline, fearless courage, preparedness, selflessness, restlessness, and no tolerance for losing.
The fear of losing drives every thought. How do you feel when you win? How do you feel when you lose? How do you want to feel?
Michael Jordan has all these qualities and he made it clear to everyone around him that is the way he was going to roll. The documentary is about much more than Michael Jordan. It represents a blueprint to becoming a winner.
• The quote of the week comes from Hall of Famer – and in many eyes, the greatest competitor of all time – Michael Jordan: “I first realized how much I loved the game of basketball when I began to look forward to practices. I mean, I enjoy the practices as much as the games. Money is nothing to me. The bottom line is that I’m playing. I have a ‘love-of-the-game’ clause in my contract, which allows me to play basketball any time I want during the offseason.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.