Like the rest of the nation, I have thoroughly enjoyed tuning into “The Last Dance” each week. It brings back great memories of playing and coaching. (If you missed Part I, read it here). Most importantly, I love what you can learn from watching Michael Jordan as an athlete. I truly believe he was the greatest to play the game.
Sportsmanship is a huge part of basketball, or any sport, no matter what level you are playing at. From the Gold Crown Recreational League to the High School Team Camps, nothing excites me more than watching players display quality sportsmanship while playing at the Gold Crown Field House.
Jordan also showed what it took to be a good sport. It is no secret that he did not have respect for Isiah Thomas, but when the Bulls lost to Pistons, Jordan knew the right thing to do was shake his opponents’ hands. However, we all saw how Isiah did not show the same respect when the Bulls beat them the following year. Whether you win or lose, in overtime or regulation, by a buzzer beater or a blowout…always shake hands. Be like Mike, not like Isiah.
Jordan might be retired, but there are great players who display his desire to win and sportsmanship efforts today. If I could give a sportsmanship award to any Denver Nuggets player, it would be Nikola Jokić and Mason Plumlee (I can’t choose just one). I love how they play within the rules of the game and respect their opponents. When the NBA gets back to playing, be sure to keep an eye out for how hard they both play in each game, just like MJ.
To all the young hoopers out there who miss playing, keep up the hard work at home in your driveway. I can’t wait to see you back at the Gold Crown Field House to see your acts of sportsmanship in person.