Sports fan’s rejoiced when their void was filled with the airing of “The Last Dance” on ESPN. Whether the story is jogging your memory or you are experiencing it for the first time, there is no denying that Michael Jordan was a fierce competitor and arguably the best player of all time.
What you might not have known is Gold Crown Foundation’s CEO and co-founder, Bill Hanzlik, was also playing and coaching in the NBA during Jordan’s reign. Here are some of his thoughts and takeaways on “The Last Dance” and the Jordan era.
If you know me, you know I live by the phrase of my dear friend, John O’Leary, “What more can we do and how can we find a way?” Michael Jordan exemplifies this during his basketball career and sets a great example for young athletes. How so?
- He was cut from his high school team. Did he pout and decide he should quit? No. Did his mom call the coach and complain why her son didn’t make it? No. Did they make excuses? No. Instead he worked his butt off that summer so that there was no way he would be cut again. I love his determination.
- Phil Jackson changed the offense. A triangle offense meant it was more of a team approach and the ball could be in his hands less. Was he thrilled by this? Not at first. Did he adapt and allow John Paxton to take the game winning three in the 1993 NBA finals? Yes. He became a team player, which also exemplified his own game.
- They couldn’t get past the Pistons. But that wasn’t going to stop him. Jordan was determined to do whatever it took in the offseason to beat the Pistons. He hit the weight room and held his teammates accountable making sure they were doing the same. A great example of perseverance. Michael and the team found a way to win.
Jordan was fierce. I remember playing against him in his early years at McNichols Arena. He drives down the lane and I’m coming up behind him thinking I’m going to block his shot. He jumps up, I jump up. I come down, he stays up…and scores. Geeze! How did he do that? The guy could fly and he was a true competitor.