„Relentless is about achieving the impossible.“ For Tim Grover, at time trainer at a Chicago health club, the impossible was getting a shot at working with any of the Bulls players during the 80s. But he wasn’t the one to sit around and do nothing about it. So he reached out to every single one of them, hoping to get his chance—every single one but Michael Jordan.
I figured if he wanted a trainer, he would already have one, and it wouldn’t be a guy like me who was just getting started.Tim Grover, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable
In Grover’s eyes, Michael wasn’t going to be persuaded to give him a chance because he didn’t have anything to persuade him with. Especially since Jordan had worked with a trainer once, injured his back, and was hesitant about trying again. But as Malcolm Gladwell said, “success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities.” Jordan deciding to give it another shot was the first of the circumstances, and it was all due to The Bad Boy Pistons.
During the 80s, basketball players weren’t into weight training. They feared that a bulky upper body would mess with their shooting and slow them down. Michael Jordan was no exception, as he relied on God-given instincts and basketball skills to get him to the top. However, three-straight years of handling the physical abuse of the Detroit Pistons made him think otherwise.
I was getting brutally beaten up, and I wanted to administer pain. I wanted to start fighting back.Michael Jordan, The Last Dance
Michael realized that „if he wanted to be more than a legend if he was truly going to become an icon, he would also need to take his body to the ultimate level.“ So he told John Hefferon, the team doctor, and Mark Pfeil, the head athletic trainer, to find someone who „understood exactly what he needed,“ and Tim Grover ended up being the guy who best fit the description. A few days after their first meeting, the Bulls called Tim for a second one at the team’s suburban practice facility. Little did he know he was going to be meeting with Jordan at his home. That’s where Tim made his pitch, and the rest is history.
It sounded too good to be true for Michael. He was trapped in believing that weights and the game of basketball have a negative correlation. But Tim was there to debunk that myth. He offered to give Jordan a thirty-day schedule, detailing all from their workout plans, how it would affect his game, body, and strength, to the way he would eat, sleep, and recover. MJ was persuaded, and he gave Tim thirty days. Tim stayed for fifteen years.
Two years after the two started working together, Michael led the Bulls to their first NBA championship. Over a decade later, he retired as arguably the greatest basketball player we’ve ever seen. And Tim had been there with him through it all. For 15 years, through six NBA championships, two retirements, and a baseball stint, Grover kept up, helping Jordan stay in remarkable physical and mental shape.
They made mistakes together and learned from those mistakes together, but the relentlessness about them always had them wanting more. “Good enough” was never an option, and they were willing to do whatever it took to exceed it. It was always about “achieving the impossible,” and both Michael and Tim were able to do it.