It’s hard to believe that Michael Jordan, to me the best basketball player of all-time, was cut from high school team as a sophomore but it really happened. Just a few years later, North Carolina claimed the 1982 national championship after MJ made the game-winning jumper against Georgetown. This was the beginning of Jordan’s legend. He then won six NBA championships in six trips to the NBA Finals, as well as eight scoring titles, five regular season MVP awards, six NBA Finals MVP awards, three NBA All-Star game MVPs and one Defensive Player of the Year award.
Michael Jordan established a record by making the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team nine times and he was a 14-time NBA All-Star and a former NBA Rookie of the Year (1985). Jordan finished his career with 32,292 points, averaging 30.1 points in 1,072 games over 15 years (13 with the Bulls). He also had 6,672 total rebounds, 5,633 assists, 12,192 field goals and 5,633 steals.
MJ averaged 31.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 930 games over 13 seasons with the Bulls and he was the star of their legendary teams in the 90s. He averaged 28.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 38.8 minutes over 82 games to win the NBA MVP award in his final season with the Bulls in 1998.
A popular Michael Jordan quote is: “Any fear is an illusion. You think something is standing in your way, but nothing is really there. What is there is an opportunity to do your best and gain some success.”
MJ has also been quoted saying: “Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
These great quotes have helped me feel more confident, but fear and anxiety are real for many of us, regardless of our job. Our emotions can overwhelm us and keep us paralyzed sometimes, this has happened to me many times but remember that God said: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you (Isaiah 43:2).”
Never quit or give in. Keep moving forward, even if it’s just one inch at a time. Anxiety is tough to overcome and it can keep you from working your hardest and doing your best.
Kobe Bryant is also one of the greatest NBA players of all-time and he had valuable advice on overcoming anxiety and fear. Some believe that Kobe could be the greatest Laker ever. Two jersey numbers in the rafters at the STAPLES Center prove this.
He took over games in ways that not many players could. Kobe’s mentality on and off the court is one of the main reasons why he is one of the very best to ever do it. What makes the greats great is not what they do. What makes them great is what they overcome. They understand big moments.
This is how Kobe approached anxiety and fear: “What I try to do is just try to be still. And understand that things come and go. Emotions come and go. The important thing is to accept them all. To embrace them all. And then you can choose to do with them what you want. Versus being controlled by emotion.
A lot of times I’ve seen players, even myself when I was younger, being consumed by a particular fear and to the point where you’re saying ‘Na, it’s not good to feel fear.’ ‘I shouldn’t be nervous in this situation.’ And it does nothing but grow. Versus stepping back and saying ‘Yeah, I am nervous about this situation.’ ‘Yeah, I am fearful about this situation.’ ‘Well what am I afraid of?’
And then you kind of unpack it and then it gives you the ability to look at it for really what it is which is nothing more than your imagination running it’s course, you know?”