Give Me the Ball

There will always be the debates because it is fun to debate. Each generation always thinks their player is the best, but it is hard to debate against Michael Jordan.

The recent documentary about Jordan was just a reminder to all of how dominant of a player that he was. He certainly had the style and charisma on the court that made him entertaining to watch but he was more than that. He inspired others around him. With Jordan around, the other players were better. He wasn’t just a great player. He was a leader.

There are lessons we can learn from MJ even if we don’t play sports. The lessons apply just us much to us as leaders off the court.

One takeaway for me is that his team knew they could depend on him when it really mattered. Obviously, he showed up all the time. He pushed others hard in practice, but when it really mattered and the game was on the line, he would step up.

Jordan inspires me to say, “Give me the ball.” When the game is on the line and we need to step up and lead, we are willing to take the shot. It may look different off the court, but I want to be the kind of leader that people can count on.

Entrepreneurs and leaders can learn a lot from the G.O.A.T. and how he inspired those around him. How does MJ inspire you?

Because I Said I Would

Be a man of your word. That is old fashion advice that leads to better living. We should honor our word and do what we say we are going to do.

When Coach John Wooden was still early in his coaching career, he thought he had gotten the coaching job offer at the college that he wanted to coach basketball. There was a scheduled call to confirm the job. They didn’t call on time. In the meantime, UCLA called and offered him the job and he verbally committed because he hadn’t heard from the other. It turns out there was a huge snow storm and the phone lines were down so they couldn’t call on time. But they did end up calling later that day to offer him the job. It was the job he wanted. The one he had been waiting for, but he declined. Not because he had signed any contract but simply because he had already given his word to UCLA.

Keep in mind UCLA was not the school it is today. The facility was terrible. It was not the better place to coach, but it was where he committed to. His word was as good as any contract.

Even though it wasn’t what he wanted, he honored his word first. Then he made the best of it. He went on to build one of the best college basketball programs in the country and become one of the greatest coaches of all time.

I’m not sure many people would make the same decision he made today. But I’m not sure many people would have back then either. Coach Wooden serves as a great example to us all.

How good is your word?