Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Michael Jordan & Motivation

Posted September 14, 2009

Did you watch Michael Jordan’s NBA Hall of Fame induction speech Friday night? If so, what did you think of it? I’ve heard a wide range of reaction. One writer said Jordan showed his petty side by pointing out the people who snubbed him throughout his basketball career. Jordan learned to turn any perceived slight into fuel for his highly competitive fire.

Personally I enjoyed the speech with the exception of one curse word that I think could have been eliminated. And I loved his choice of NC State great and childhood hero David Thompson as his hall of fame presenter.

We all find different sources for motivation. I hate to admit it but rejection and arrogance have served me well over the years. When I had given up on how to play a guitar in high school I was driven to try again by a bragging neighbor who showed me up at a party with his command of the frets.

Later a boasting broadcaster who had just won a major news award fueled my competitive fire. The next year I took home a Peabody Award, the top prize in broadcasting. Seven years later, after being rejected by a television manager who didn’t like the way I did the news, I won a second Peabody.

Once I was invited to submit a song for a compilation Christmas album on a major record label. When my tune was rejected and I was told I needed “buckets of practice,” I was determined to prove that person wrong. So I worked hard and have done quite well in music ever since.

So, I can identify with this “negative” but powerful form of motivation. I’m not saying it's right but it has worked for a lot of people, especially Michael Jordan who is clearly the greatest player to hit the hardwood.


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  • cagerat42 Sep 14, 2009

    Im am no Carolina fan by any means but I did enjoy watching
    MJ play.I am glad to see him in the HOF and enjoyed the humor in
    his acceptance speech.

  • wlo0638 Sep 14, 2009

    For those of us who play, know and love basketball, he conveyed his love of the game well.

  • Wheelman Sep 14, 2009

    The great lesson that was in his speech was that it isn't about the bad, rude, ugly or sad things that happen to you in life. All of these being things of which you have no control. The real difference is in the attitude you choose to respond with. The pain is no different for the one who rises above it, but the joy in life is.

  • UNCfuturealumi Sep 14, 2009

    Well, I think he was honest. That is what I like to see in these HEROs. That is what I want my grandkids to acknowledge is honestly is the only way.

  • wballanceunc Sep 14, 2009

    I watched the speech but not live. I was at a friends wedding in Atlantic Beach. Great place for a wedding. Watched the speech yesterday when ESPN re-aired on one of their channels. I thought the speech was really good and actually got a kick out of Jordan saying he shocked the ____ out of David Thompson. I thought his acknowledgment of both those who helped and motivated him along the way was nice and a very good lesson to kids today. I would like to see Jordan wear a little more Carolina Blue in public appearances as he didn't have any on at the UNC Alumni Game either, but I may be a little biased. Anyway I enjoyed watching the speech and glad that the Greatest of All Time is finally in the HOF.

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