Born in Brooklyn, Michael Jordan’s parents moved their family to Wilmington, North Carolina to escape the mean streets of New York where drugs and violence could become a way of life. As a child, Jordan loved to play baseball and football. His love for basketball began when his older brother, Larry, continuously beat him in one-on-one pick-up games. Just like any other challenge he’s faced, the losses made him determined to become a better player.
During his Junior High School years, Jordan was an all-around athlete playing three sports, but not wholly dedicated to one sport. In high school, he easily joined the Junior Varsity team and was shortly presented with an opportunity that would shape the rest of his basketball career.
The varsity team was headed into the playoffs and needed an extra player for the team. Jordan was sure that he would be chosen for such an important role. Instead of Jordan, the coach chose the taller player, Leroy Smith. This rejection from the team forced Jordan to work harder and become more focused on developing his basketball skills. He devoted himself to the game, often skipping classes to go to the gym to practice.
His daily practice with his brother Larry, along with the benefit of growing five inches taller between his Sophomore and Junior years landed him a place on the varsity basketball team. From this point on, Jordan would lead his teams to victory. Recruited to play for the University of Carolina, Jordan would take the game winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship. He was selected as the college player of the year in 1983 and would lead the “Dream Team” to Olympic Gold in 1984. In his Junior year of college, Jordan was drafted to the NBA’s Chicago Bulls where he continued to meet success.
Please reflect on and answer the following questions:
- What is one thing about Jordan’s story that stands out the most for you?
- How did Michael Jordan’s mindset allow him to become one of the greatest NBA players of all time?
- How did Jordan’s failures help to shape him into an All-star athlete?
- Describe one area in your life where you are failing. What can you do to turn this failure into a success?