Michael Jordan. One name and a million images come to mind. Whether it’s that infamous tongue that stuck out while he was playing, or one of his many game winning shots, or his six championship rings that don his fingers, there is no denying that Michael Jordan left his mark on the game of basketball, and on the world of sports as a whole.
Michael Jordan would eventually become one the greatest athletes and basketball players of all time. But it did not start as easy for him.
The story has been told over again how the greatest basketball player was once cut from his varsity basketball team, but the story doesn’t end there. Jordan used that as the fuel to make himself better. With hard work and a generous growth spurt that took him from 5’11” to 6’3”, Michael Jordan began to bring himself some attention.
In the summer of 1979, Jordan’s high school basketball team attended a camp at Appalachian State where a young recruiter by the name of Bob Gibbons was there. At this time, Michael Jordan had not been playing on the Varsity team but he still made an impact.
“I saw a 6-3 player with explosive athletic ability,” Gibbons said. “But what impressed me was what Michael said when Bobby introduced him to me—‘Mr. Gibbons, what do I need to do better to be a better player?”
Those are the words spoken by a true dedicated athlete, and those are the words that sum up who Michael Jordan was as a player. An athlete with a strong desire to improve and get better. It is what sets him apart from many other athletes that came before him and athletes that came after him.
But his story did not end there. After Michael attended the UNC Basketball camp, UNC’s Coach Smith said what impressed him and his staff was Jordan’s hunger to learn. He kept sneaking into drills. They couldn’t get him off the court.
One 1982 National Title, 3 ACC regular season championships, and 6 NBA Championships later, Michael Jordan is widely recognized as one of the best athletes of all time. But this was not just a natural gift that he was blessed with. Jordan possessed three qualities that any and every basketball coach would love to have in a player;
- An unmatched work ethic
- A desire to constantly improve and learn
- A love for the game