Michael Jordan was on a mission. A mission to be the best to ever play basketball. It didn’t matter who got in his way, teammate or opponent. He was going to succeed. As every Chicago Bulls fan knows too well, this mission was accomplished. Jordan set records, won MVPs, claimed scoring titles, was Defensive Player of the Year and claimed six championships in six tries.
A huge part of his greatness was his athleticism and ridiculous will to win. However, what is so often overlooked about his reign was his toughness. Jordan played 13 seasons with the Bulls. In 10 of those seasons, he played at least 80 of 82 games. That is absurd. Why? Think about this. Kobe Bryant played at least 80 games in a season just six times in 20 seasons with the Lakers. LeBron James has done it just three times in 15 seasons. Jordan was an ironman.
Former Bulls doctor Michael Lewis knew this all too well.
In an interview for WGN Radio, he told a story of just how committed the man was to show up every night. Why? Because people paid a lot of money to see Michael Jordan play.
“One night, 10 minutes before a game, he had such severe neck pain that he could not move his neck in any direction. So I suggested he not play that night and he looked at me like I was crazy. He said, ‘Fans have comes from hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away to see me play and I’m not going to disappoint them.'”
Michael Jordan was a true performer in every sense
That is something that is a lost art these days. Many athletes are committed to their own personal gain. Specifically through money. They want their stats and All-Star appearances. Not enough of them remember that they’re performers at heart. Thousands of people pay a lot of money to come to watch them play a game. Where would any of them be if that weren’t the case?
This is something that wasn’t lost on Jordan. Yeah he earned everything he got, but he also understood a giant portion of his success was due to the love and admiration of his fans. So he took it as a personal quest to make sure they got what they paid for every night. Not every superstar would’ve done that and it’s why Bulls fans revere him to this day.