John Wooden once said, “The athlete should have character, not be a character.” I believe Michael Jordan is a true athlete and a complete athlete, heck you can call him the complete “Manager.” He not only had character on the court, but his “character” made the other athletes around him better.
Critics and analysts are always comparing young stars and other veterans like, Lebron James and Kobe, to His Airness. The fact that they make these comparisons are on statistics, but they don’t look close enough. Sure Kobe scored 81 points in a regular season game, second all time highest in a game, and sure Lebron scored a triple-double, 26 points+13 rebounds+10 assists, in his career playoff debut. But the comparers do not see that Jordan scored a all time playoff record 63 points in a game and he was amazing at defense. He got more defensive titles than any other player consecutively, and the only player to get scoring, MVP, and defense titles in same season. The critics don’t mention this because they know James and Kobe can’t play defense.
Additionally, Air Jordan made his team around him better. He did not ball hog, hold on scratch that, yes he did. But he did ball hog when he had to and his percentages on scoring on that “ball-hog” possession were high. Kobe on the other hand, wants the ball on every play and his percentages are low. You can’t make the team around you better that way. I mean if you want the ball every single time then of course you can score 81 points in a game. Jordan also did not care about his stats, as most young players do, he cared about winning and moving on. Most players now days do care about winning, but for instance, if they are down by a lot and are going to lose, the players will do anything to get better stats, and not take unopen-dumb shots, meaning forcing the shot not thinking about it. There’s no logic in that, if you don’t take dumb shots at the end because you care about your statistics, then why not start the game like that. This is what made Jordan, Jordan. He loved the game. I‘m not saying young players today don’t, but he loved it so much, he evenplayed with a very threatening flu. Today, young players like, Lebron and Kobe, sit out for the game or even a week or more, just because of a little sprain. Walk it off. Can’t help the team by sitting out, sure there’s a risk of injury, but MJ did it, so why can’t they. If they can’t then they should not be compared to his Airness. Clearly, Jordan was a true athlete and a complete “Manager.” He not only had character on the court, but his personality and “character” made the other athletes around him better. That’s what makes a team, and that’s what wins 6 championships in a span of 8 years.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.