Michael Jordan’s Competitive Edge Helped Make Him a Living Legend, but He’d Give Up His ‘Addiction’ If He Could: ‘Then I Could Breathe’

It’s difficult to become much larger in sports than Michael Jordan. His Airness distinguished himself as one of the finest talents to ever play professional basketball during his tenure on the NBA floor. He crushed the competition, became a worldwide celebrity, and amassed a huge net worth in the process.

While this makes MJ’s life seem to be picture-perfect, things aren’t always as they seem. Jordan made a rare and startlingly personal revelation in an ESPN article ahead of his 50th birthday: his renowned competitive edge can sometimes be an unfathomable burden.

Michael Jordan is a winner in almost every sport he participates in.

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing,” according to UCLA football coach Red Sanders. While that remark may not be universally agreed upon, Michael Jordan would undoubtedly concur.

His Airness developed his competitive instincts as a child by batting against his brother, Larry. Despite some early failures — Michael famously failed to make his high school varsity basketball team on his first try — he would go on to dominate at almost every level. He received a scholarship to the University of North Carolina and won an NCAA championship as a freshman after being a McDonald’s All-American.

The victories continued on coming at the professional level. The Bulls had some trouble getting past the Detroit Pistons at first, but they finally cracked the code and began flexing their figurative muscles. MJ won six championships, five NBA MVP awards, and just about everything else conceivable in his career. His Airness is generally regarded as the GOAT for a reason.

Those winning ways, however, did not end at the hardwood’s edge. Jordan’s competitive nature has been the subject of many tales throughout the years. He’s allegedly cheated at Yahtzee, broken golf etiquette to win a bet, and done just about anything else conceivable to win a wager.

MJ once spoke about the pressures of having to be the greatest.

Michael Jordan waves to the crowd after winning one of his six NBA championships.

Michael Jordan waves to the crowd after winning one of his six NBA championships. Michael Jordan displays one of his many Larry O’Brien Trophies. | AFP/Getty Images

While Jordan’s famous desire to win has helped him dominate the NBA and become part of his encompassing mythology, there is a drawback to constantly wanting to be the greatest.

Prior to Michael Jackson’s 50th birthday in 2013, ESPN’s Wright Thompson spent time with the living icon. While there were lots of interesting stories, things became a little more serious when they discussed competition.

“There’s no way to quantify these things, but there’s a good argument to be made that Jordan is the most fierce competitor on the planet,” Tompson said, before going into detail on how Jordan mastered Bejeweled on his iPad, defeated Sodouku, and sped through volumes of word searches. You’re not alone if you believe that activity list is tiresome.

According to Thompson, MJ said, “I can’t help myself.” “It’s an addiction,” she says. You asked for this unique ability to reach these heights, and now that you have it, you want to return it, but you can’t. If I could, I’d be able to breathe.”

That’s a bold statement from anybody, much alone Jordan, who seems to be unstoppable.

Michael Jordan serves as just another reminder that professional athletes are also people.

Please allow two minutes for this.

Here’s the whole video of Michael Phelps on mental health.

If you’re feeling it, pass it on… pic.twitter.com/3ZaZf3OwfF

July 28, 2021 — Rex Chapman (@RexChapman)

It’s easy to imagine that His Airness lives on Easy Street, given his legendary reputation and, at the very least, his $1.6 billion net worth. The comments regarding his competitive nature, on the other hand, serve as a reminder that every person, no matter how renowned, has challenges.

Jordan is a good example, but he’s not the only athlete that emphasizes this point. Andrew Luck, the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, announced his retirement from the NFL in August 2019, citing the toll the game was having on his body. Naomi Osaka just withdrew from the French Open due to worries about her mental health. Simone Biles withdrew from the team gymnastics final and many other events at the Tokyo Olympics owing to mental health issues and “the twisties.” Her aunt died suddenly during the games, she later disclosed.

While the latter two withdrawals have been widely panned — the notion that players must push through their problems is still prevalent in sports — it is worth remembering that Jordan famously took a vacation from basketball to try his hand at minor league baseball. He had no issue walking away from the floor for personal reasons, even though he didn’t quit the Bulls in the midst of the season.

It’s easy to overlook the reality that underlies every competition while we’re watching sports and witness billionaires accomplish superhuman feats of athleticism. Everyone participating is a human person at the end of the day, and they should be treated as such.

RELATED: Michael Jordan Reportedly Regrets Not Casting Luc Longley in ‘The Last Dance’: ‘I think that’s what I would have done differently.’

Michael Jordan’s competitive edge helped make him a living legend, but he’d give up his addiction if he could. Then I could breathe, said the basketball player in an interview with ESPN. Reference: michael jordan motivation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How was Michael Jordan so competitive?

Michael Jordan was a highly competitive person. He would always be the first one to volunteer for any competition, and he had a strong sense of pride in his work.

What made MJ so good?


How did Jordan motivate himself?

Jordan motivated himself by thinking about the end goal and how good he would feel when he achieved it.

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