Michael Jordan to the Max

Production: Giant Screen Sport
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
46 min

-What time is it?

-Game time!

From North Carolina,

at guard, 6'6", Michael Jordan!

Every day that l stepped

on the basketball court,

even though l was on top of the world,

l felt like l had something to prove.

After Michael Jordan's final season,

the NBA gave him yet another

Most Valuable Player Award,

and said the reason is simple.

"After 13 seasons,

you still go out every night

"and play like Michael Jordan."

When Jordan would go out

for the spotlight introduction,

he would look up into the stands

and he would realize

that there was at least

someone up there that night

who had never seen him before,

who would never see him again,

and this would be the one

Michael Jordan moment they ever had.

And he would say he was playing

for those people there.

We had a six-game road trip.

Michael had had some spasms

in his lower back.

And we literally had to

carry him off the bus,

off the plane to the bus,

from the bus to the hotel.

It amazed me.

He went out and got 40 points that night.

This is the kind of player he was.

He wanted everybody

to see his special skill,

and he didn't want people

that loved basketball

not to have that opportunity.

When the Playoffs began,

in his heart, Michael already knew

that these would be his last games.

But this would be no nostalgic farewell tour.

He was determined to go out

on his own terms,

as a champion.

The Bulls' first-round opponents

were the New Jersey Nets,

young and full of hope.

Michael was dominant.

It was a three-game sweep,

built on mental toughness

as much as physical talent.

And for Michael,

the way to develop the mind

had always been through the heart.

A lot of parents are asking me,

"well, what advice

would you give my kids?"

And my advice would be

let them just enjoy the game.

l think what they have to learn more about

at that young age is their love for the game.

And once they've developed that,

then the mental part is easy.

l didn't really get instruction

until l was a junior in high school.

First, l just loved the game

and l let my skills develop.

So l believe in learning late.

Playing early, but learning late.

Michael's love of the game

was born in his hometown

of Wilmington, North Carolina,

during long afternoons on the playgrounds.

His older brother, Larry,

helped Michael hone his game

in their epic battles of one-on-one

at their backyard hoop.

But Michael's first hard lesson

would come when he tried out

for the varsity team at Laney High.

When l was a sophomore in high school,

like most high school kids,

you get all the energy and all the motivation

and excitement

of making your varsity team,

which is a big thing.

Status is a lot when you're in high school.

So you can imagine the disappointment

that l got

when l felt like l should have made the team,

but then didn't make the team.

I'm crying, l lost my emotions totally.

My mother came to me

and said, "Use that energy

"to prove to the coach and to your peers

and your classmates

"that they made a mistake."

You give it your best.

You try so hard and you get to the point,

"l know l can do it."

And if you try one more time,

you are able to achieve it.

It's going one step farther.

That's not giving up, it's giving your best.

l only will walk away when l know

l do not have anything else to give.

The disappointment was so deep, like a cut,

it struck the fire in me

to make sure that l never endure

that type of pain again.

In the second round of the Playoffs,

Michael returned home with a vengeance.

Playing the Charlotte Hornets,

it would be Michael's last

professional appearance in North Carolina.

Its always been a treat to come back home

when you've grown up here and you go out

and become a man on your own,

and then come back home to show

what's evolved of that person.

For fans who had watched him

since his days as a Carolina schoolboy,

what emerged now was not just the skill,

but the willpower.

Those who remembered his raw potential

now saw the results

of a lifetime of hard work.

He would go to JV practice and practice,

and then he'd go to varsity practice.

We'd play ball games,

and after the games were over,

he'd run what we called "suicides"

or line drills.

He'd run those by himself.

l just marveled at his work habits even then.

With his competitiveness

to go with all that dedication,

it was something to see.

The weakest part of Michael's game,

on the offensive end, was his shooting.

So he obviously mastered something

that everybody said he couldn't do

when he came out of college.

And he did it by shooting and shooting

and shooting and shooting consistently.

The other thing that people told him that

he wasn't a really good defensive player.

And he found a way, not only to become

a great defensive player,

but the best defensive player in the NBA.

This guy said, "Those are my weaknesses.

"Im going to figure out how to

make those my strengths," and he did it.

l got a glimpse, really, of Michael Jordan,

and what he was all about,

the first time l ever coached him.

About two minutes to go in the game,

l called a timeout,

and we were down two.

It was right there in the balance.

And l had some little powder on my mouth

from where l chewed some gum

and chewed it so hard

that it really had become powder.

And Michael grabbed a cup of water

and he handed it to me,

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Jonathan Hock

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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