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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Michael Jordan & Motivation

Posted September 14, 2009 9:58 a.m. EDT

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.