To be great at something, one needs to acknowledge his/her shortcomings. Every rookie in the NBA has a chip on his shoulder. He wants to shine brighter than all his peers and secure his legacy in the NBA forever. However, beating NBA veterans as a rookie is not easy. Even the great Michael Jordan, who is known for his supreme confidence, had to go through his own learning curve in order to become arguably the best NBA player of all time.
In a resurfaced interview of the 6x NBA champion, Michael Jordan applauds his hero as he recalls an important moment in his NBA career.
Michael Jordan’s Hero Comes to His Rescue
In the “TNT Farewell Salute,” to Michael Jordan in 2003, the host tells Jordan, “When you started off in the NBA, you did a lot of exceptional things yourself individually. And later on in ’98 and ’96, you started really winning championships. Evaluate the difference in the two.“.
Jordan replied, “Well, I would have to go back even further. I mean, you come out of college (before getting into the NBA) you got a lot of gifted talent and knowledge from your coach. So, when you get to the pros, you have to blend that knowledge as well as your individual talent.”
Jordan goes onto explain that he came into the league not thinking that he was on top. After entering the league in 1984, it took him seven years to become a “complete” player. Jordan mentions in the interview, “I had to work my way past all my teammates and other players in the league to prove and establish myself as a basketball player. You know, I was gifted, I was talented. I knew how to play the game but I didn’t know how to play the game professionally.”
Jordan then talks about how he never wanted to be a “one-dimensional” player. He explained in the interview, “One thing I never wanted to be was one dimensional. Everyone saw me as just a scorer, a one-on-one player. But I knew I was better than that.“.
Jordan applauded his hero, Dean Smith, as he continues, “I came from a great program in North Carolina. They teach you how to do more than just one thing. I spent the rest of my career trying to evolve as a player and when my team got to a point where we can contend (for the NBA championship), I had to assume the leadership role.” But who was Dean Smith?
Dean Smith’s influence on Michael Jordan
We all admire the Chicago Bulls legend because of his major role in the iconic championship runs in the 1990s. But before he became one of NBA’s best to ever play the game, he was a college rookie for the University of North Carolina. Dean Smith was the then head coach of the North Carolina basketball team.
Jordan has stated in multiple interviews regarding his incredible relationship with Dean Smith. The 6x NBA champion had mentioned that Dean Smith was one of the most influential people he had ever met in his life, other than his parents. Jordan stated that he was “more than a coach — he was a mentor, my teacher, my second father.“
Despite facing many hurdles in his professional and personal life, Michael Jordan remained victorious in the battle of life. Dean Smith’s guidance and influence on Jordan gave the basketball world one of the world’s most competitive and feared athlete of all time.
What are your thoughts on Dean Smith’s influence on Michael Jordan’s life? Let us know in the comments below!