When it comes to star athletes, it’s hard to get bigger and better than Michael Jordan. On the court, His Airness could dominate a game without even trying; he also changed basketball style, altering the very uniforms that players wear. Barring a few infamous missteps, MJ was almost always a safe bet.
While you might not have Jordan’s athletic potential, anyone can practice his biggest key to success. For all of his star power, it’s surprisingly simple.
Michael Jordan’s on-court greatness
During high school, Michael Jordan famously failed to make the varsity basketball team on his first attempt. He landed on the JV team, where he dominated the competition; he conveniently grew four inches before the next school year and made varsity the following fall. At that point, his talent was obvious for all to see. Jordan was named a McDonalds’ All-American and had his pick of college offers; he would enroll at the University of North Carolina and play under the legendary Dean Smith.
MJ won the National Championship as a freshman and only kicked on from there. He spent three seasons in Chapel Hill before making the jump to the NBA; when Jordan fell to the Chicago Bulls, they quickly snapped him up with the third overall pick.
In the NBA, Michael Jordan’s dominance continued. While you surely don’t need anyone to tell you how good he was, Jordan piled up over 30,000 points, claimed six championships, six MVP awards. Today, his official NBA biography calls him “the greatest basketball player of all time.”
Jordan’s business ventures
As you might imagine, Michael Jordan’s athletic success has translated into the business world, too.
Beyond his own iconic Jumpman sneakers and apparel, Jordan also represented major brands like McDonald’s and Gatorade; he’s also endorsed Hanes for decades, leading to some memorable ads along the way. As the biggest player on earth, he was the biggest face in advertising.
MJ currently owns the Charlotte Bobcats, who, despite their poor on-court performances, continue to turn a profit; buying a professional sports team is always a smart investment. He also recently got involved with a luxury tequila brand. With a personal fortune of nearly $2 billion, Jordan is clearly doing something right.
The key to success
Whether you’re an athlete, an entrepreneur, or anything in between, everyone feels pressure to perform. Michael Jordan knows that better than anyone else; as a player, he would constantly turn to a rosin bag to combat his sweaty palms.
The key to dealing with that pressure, Jordan explained, is preparation “The only way to relieve that pressure is to build your fundamentals, practice them over and over, so when game breaks down, you can handle anything that transpires,” he told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullen.
“People didn’t believe me when I told them I practiced harder than I played, but it was true,” he continued. “That’s where my comfort zone was created. By the time the game came, all I had to do was react to what my body was already accustomed to doing.”
So whether you’re looking to find success on the basketball court or in the boardroom, start working on those fundamentals. If they’re good enough for Michael Jordan, they’re good enough for any of us mere mortals.