Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Ego-driven athletes need to be more like Mike

Ego-driven athletes need to be more like Mike

Since ESPN Films and Netflix released The Last Dance in April to rave reviews, Michael Jordan and his legendary Chicago Bulls team of the 90s have been introduced to a generation that didn’t grow up watching their greatness.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

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In the space of a few weeks, the 10-part series became ESPN’s most-watched documentary ever – thanks in part to the current lack of live sport on telly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Like Muhammed Ali, Tiger Woods, and Cristiano Ronaldo, Jordan went on to transcend his sport and become instantly recognisable all over the globe. From his six NBA championship wins with the Bulls to his multi-billion-dollar deals with Nike and McDonald, MJ has achieved demi-god status in the eyes of many.

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Personally, as something of a sports addict, I am totally in awe of Jordan’s winning mentality. The Last Dance did a phenomenal job of laying bare his ferocious competitiveness, an ingredient sorely lacking in many of today’s leading athletes – perhaps most notably in the world of football.

With the ludicrous sums of money top sportspeople earn nowadays, as well as the popularity afforded to them by social media, many are content to simply go through the motions and pick up their paycheck at the end of each month.

Never mind striving for perfection or creating a legacy. For some, money and status have become the order of the day in a society centred around egos and “Instagram Influencers” – whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.

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This would never fly back in Air’s day.

“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,” he once said.

In one particularly emotional scene from Dance, MJ gets teary-eyed after being queried about his fiery competitiveness and whether it came at the expense of him being perceived as a “nice guy”.

His response: “Look, winning has a price. And leadership has a price. So I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled. I challenged people when they didn’t want to be challenged.

“When people see this they are going say, ‘Well he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.’ Well, that’s you. Because you never won anything. I wanted to win, but I wanted them [my teammates] to win to be a part of that as well. Look, I don’t have to do this. I am only doing it because it is who I am. That’s how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don’t want to play that way, don’t play that way.”

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