One quality that stands out above the rest involving Michael Jordan is his competitive drive. Jordan‘s internal drive to compete pushed him to prestigious heights throughout his illustrious NBA career. It also put a reporter into the hospital.
Michael Jordan’s competitive nature
Michael Jordan‘s legacy on the basketball court is one that many hold in high prestige.
Jordan experienced tremendous success throughout his career, which his ultra-competitiveness remained unmatched throughout much of his 15-year career. His motivation and drive took his game to incredible heights.
Jordan secured numerous feats along the way such as six NBA titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, five regular-season MVP awards, 14 All-Star selections, fourth on the all-time scoring list, a Defensive Player of the Year award, 10 All-NBA First team nods, nine All-Defensive First team selections, and 10 scoring titles.
He took his game to the next level when it came to the playoffs as he reached that 13 times in his illustrious career. Jordan averaged north of 30 points on 12 occasions while scoring 50 or more points eight times. The untouchable part of his legacy came in his championship success with winning an NBA title in each of his six trips where he never played in a Game 7.
His resume speaks for itself, which has earned well-deserved recognition that he has garnered over the last few decades. That said, his competitive drive also nearly cause a reporter to check into the hospital.
How Michael Jordan put a reporter into the hospital
Although Michael Jordan’s drive and passion for the game pushed him to retirement in his prime, he continued his professional career through baseball.
Jordan took his talents to the baseball diamond in 1994, where he played in the Chicago White Sox’s minor league system. During that time, Jordan still played pickup basketball. One of these instances once led to now MLB.com Diamondbacks reporter Steve Gilbert to participate.
At the time, Gilbert worked for the Arizona Fall league while Jordan played with Scottsdale Scorpions. Then-Scorpions manager Terry Francona invited Gilbert to play a pickup game with Jordan, which he quickly realized he was well over his head. (MLB.com)
“I played growing up,” Gilbert said, “but I wasn’t in the best shape because I was so busy with the Jordan stuff. … Throw in the fact that I was terrified to be out there with Jordan, and I don’t even remember if I breathed the whole time we played.”
The game wore out Gilbert enough to where he couldn’t catch his breath afterward. The situation led to a trip to the Scottsdale Hospital due to precautionary reasons. The doctors informed Gilbert that he was just winded, which led to Jordan to quip the next day that Gilbert couldn’t play with him again.
“Listen, you can’t play basketball with us ever again,” Jordan told Gilbert, “because I can’t have a good time if I’m worrying about you keeling over and dying.”
Unmatched competitive drive
The story involving Steve Gilbert is another example of the intense competitive drive that Michael Jordan has.
Jordan’s passion and drive to compete led him to tremendous success in stringing together an iconic career. He is the gold standard that many greats after him in not just basketball pushed themselves to reach.
Jordan’s legacy is cemented firmly as one arguably the greatest athlete in all of sports. That alone is why there is such an incredible amount of fascination with any story that involves him. There are many more anecdotes out there that only speak to his character and embody his competitive drive.