As a lifelong Utah Jazz fan, it was painful for me to see Michael Jordan and his Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz in the NBA finals two years in a row. The Jazz even got better between the first and second meeting against the Bulls in the 1998 NBA finals and had the upper hand on home-court advantage and their regular-season record that year. But the Bulls were playing in their last season in the Jordan-Pippen-Rodman-Jackson era and were out to finish in style.
After watching this documentary, I now really know why the Jazz lost to this superstar team. Michael Jordan had an unconquerable determination to beat the Jazz and win, and to close out his sixth NBA title and go out with his goal achieved in his last year of playing.
MJ had two powerful keys to his success, that we can learn from as practice owners:
- Intense focus
- Extreme determination to win
Those were his secret weapons. He’s a tremendous athlete, but even more so he is a mental powerhouse. I still believe he’s the greatest team athlete of all time and more so after watching this documentary.
Michael lost his share of games over his career – but he absolutely HATES to lose. This is very instructional. It doesn’t mean he never lost or was naïve to the fact that he would lose again. He just detested losing so much that he made it his mission to win.
Small and large businesses have seen plenty of losers over the years. Even YouTube started out as a “loser,” but quickly turned it around. When Steve Chan, Chad Hurley, and Joey Wood Karin launched YouTube on Valentines’ Day, 2005, it began as a video dating service. After five days no one single video had been uploaded, so they expanded their focus to allow people to upload videos of anything. It soon caught fire, and within 18 months YouTube was hitting 100 million views per day, so it didn’t take long for Google to snatch up YouTube for a large sum (Source: Inc. Magazine May 2020).
Just a couple of minutes into episode 10 of The Last Dance, there is a key statement made by Michael Jordan. When asked if he was nervous about a big shot in an upcoming game, he simply says “why would I be fearful of a shot I haven’t taken yet?” Michael’s gift wasn’t how he could jump; it was that he was completely present in the moment and focused on what the job at hand was.
As the late coach Chuck Daly, who took the Pistons to 2 NBA Finals and the 1992 Dream Team to a gold medal, often said, “I’m not a pessimist…I am just an optimist with experience.” This is how you have to be a practice owner that can win. Chuck faced Michael several times and defeated him in the late 80’s and early 90’s. This made MJ so determined to beat the Pistons, that he did what it took and defeated them handily before going on to win 6 NBA titles.
If you haven’t watched this series, I highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t a big sports fan, there are tons of leadership and personal development lessons contained within this fascinating documentary.
Have a fantastic spring weekend!
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