3 Key Lessons from Basketball Legend Michael Jordan

3 Key Lessons from Basketball Legend Michael Jordan

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Michael Jordan

Michael JordanWhen I think about sports icons legendary basketball player, Michael Jordan ranks up there with some of the best athletes I have ever seen. What stands out most about him was his work ethic and determination to win in every aspect of his life.

Michael Jordan is an American former professional basketball player, entrepreneur, and majority owner and chairman of the Charlotte Bobcats. Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.

Born in Brooklyn, New York (February 17, 1963) to James Jordan and Deloris, Michael started playing the game of basketball at a young age in the state of North Carolina when the family moved there. His father once said of his competitiveness, “What he does have is a competition problem. He was born with that … the person he tries to outdo most of the time is himself.” He played for the University of North Carolina having accepted a basketball scholarship and set numerous records. The turning point of his career was in a game against Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA Championship.

After graduating from varsity he was drafted into the Chicago Bulls team in his first season of NBA action in 1984. This would mark the beginning of a period of success in the years to come with the Chicago Bulls. He grew in stature and influence as he progressed. Doug Collins, Bulls head coach from 1986-1989, said of Michael, “Every year he came back and he was better, he was stronger, he was quicker.” His brilliance earned him several regular season Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards.

Michael Jordan Legacy

His best performances would come in the NBA Finals with the Bulls, helping the team win their first NBA Championship in a long time in 1991. The Bulls would repeat the same feat over the next 2 seasons, 1992 and 1993 and in each of those finals he won the NBA Finals MVP award. His performances in particular were instrumental in marketing the NBA all over the world. Head coach, Phil Jackson was instrumental in that feat of back to back championship seasons.

Tragedy struck in 1993 when Michael Jordan’s father, James was murdered. Michael was devastated as he was close to his father. He retired from basketball that season to play baseball leaving the basketball community in shock. He later admitted that part of his decision was due to his father’s death. He came out of retirement in 1995 to once again play for the Chicago Bulls. In the time that Jordan was absent the Bulls were dethroned from their NBA championship status. Upon his return the Bulls went on to win another 3 back to back NBA Championships between 1996 and1998 again winning the NBA Finals MVP award on all 3 occasions.

Michael Jordan would retire a second time from the game in 1999. His decision was greatly influenced by the pending departures of teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, while Head Coach Phil Jackson’s contract was set to expire soon. Phil Jackson had become a father figure to him especially after the death of his father. He would return to the game of basketball in 2001 but this time not as a Chicago Bulls player. He had a short stint with the Washington Wizards and retired for good in 2003 to which he received a four-minute standing ovation in his final game at his old home court, the United Center in Chicago.


1. Work ethic

Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.” He understood that effort was the most important thing to achieving great success in life. His personality rubbed off on his teammates as he made them better players. Even though he had talent it was important to work hard and master the fundamentals of the game and become the best that he could be and inspire the team to do the same.

2. Consistency

Michael didn’t just become a great basketball player by accident. Our society today misleads us to believe that greatness can be accomplished through quantum leaps. This is why we have a generation of people that are always looking for the ‘quick-fix’ or ‘magic spell’ that will just solve our problems in an instant. It’s the impression we get through some TV programs and various media. In the first couple of years of his career Michael showed signs of his potential and he worked on his game for several years before he became one of the best players of the game. It took him seven years since joining the Chicago Bulls to win his first NBA Championship. Consistency over time is the ONLY way to achieve greatness in life. Embrace this truth and you are on your way to achieving greatness in your life.

3. Commitment

Although he had relinquished the MVP award to Karl Malone in 1996-97, Jordan was awarded MVP in 1997-98 and again led the Bulls to the NBA Championship with a satisfying six-game victory over Malone’s Utah Jazz. Despite a horrible case of stomach flu in a critical Game Five, he would not let his team lose. He scored 38 points and the Bulls won the game and then the title at home in Game Six. He was also named the NBA Finals MVP for the fifth time. This is what Michael had to say at a stage in his career, “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.” Dedication like that rubs off on the people around you and you could see it in his teammates like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. He had the respect of his teammates.

Please leave your comments below and let us know what you think made Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time

About the author

Sija Mafu is an Online Enthusiast, Personal Development Fan, Global Business owner and a Master in The Art of Living. Also as a devout Christian, his vision is to see young people take responsibility for their lives and create bright futures for themselves, their families and society at large.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the feedback. Glad you enjoyed it,

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