If you haven’t watched yet, ESPN came out with a docuseries about the Chicago Bulls and the legacy of the great, Michael Jordan. It’s now on Netflix, for all you Netflixers!
The Last Dance is not kid-friendly and is rated TV-MA, but as parents we can see what it takes to make a thriving team, coaching choices that inspire incredible athleticism, teamwork and a go-for-it mentality. It can be argued that Michael Jordan, being the best basketball player in the world, worked harder and pushed his teammates to work harder than anyone the world has ever seen.
So it had me thinking, what do we want for our own kids when it comes to sports? How did Jordan’s father support and inspire his dreams?
Michael Jordan’s passion was not forced on him by his family, but they did encourage him to play, get up when he got knocked down, and always have a winning attitude. His parents put him in sports and involved in the community to keep them busy and out of trouble while the two parents worked full-time. “We always taught the kids to work for what they wanted, we taught them they are strong and intelligent.”
However, Jordan himself was extremely self-motivated and driven to succeed and be the best. He did not make the varsity basketball team as a sophomore and came home crying that he didn’t want to play. His parents said, “if you really want it, you’ll work hard over the summer to get there.”
Jordan’s father was very influential in Jordan’s life. In the ninth grade Jordan got suspended three times in one year, and his father pulled him aside that summer and said: ‘Look, you don’t look like you’re heading in the right direction. You know, if you want to go about doing all this mischievous stuff, you can forget sports.'” His father encouraged school and positive behavior and was firm about his expectations.
Jordan says, “One of the things that always taught me is that you have to take a negative and turn it into a positive, so I started looking to the other side of it, and that helped me get through it,” Jordan said.
A lot can be learned from sports and inspirational players like Michael Jordan, but the parents and the people who support him are instrumental in influencing his mindset and attitude.