LeBron in Cleveland and then Los Angeles, Kyrie in Boston, Kobe in Los Angeles in his days – all reminders that the hardest thing to achieve in chasing a ring is leading a group of hyper ambitions people to a single goal. A lot of sacrifice is needed and how to draw out the best in people is often the last step to greatness.
We all know Jordan was a maniac who got on people and wore everyone around him down. His commitment to winning is so strong people couldn’t keep up. Magic Johnson was like that as well. We always imagine that big smile, people loving to hang out with him, but Magic was very demanding as well and had nothing but rings on his mind. (via ESPN)
“What set Larry apart from Magic and Jordan was he wasn’t an in-your-face leader like they were,” Parish said. “He had too much respect for us. If you weren’t having a good night, he was more inclined to encourage you, or not say anything at all.
“But Magic and Jordan would jump all over you.”Robert Parish
Parish shared an interesting story about MJ in particular. You can imagine that most players would be intimidated and in awe to share the court with His Airness, but take a moment to consider where Parish was coming from.
A part of one of the greatest frontcourts in basketball history, Bird and McHale as his teammates creating a dynasty in Boston. A good town to be a popular athlete. Parish played against Magic, Isiah and Dr. J and watched Jordan fail and lose a lot before he started winning. Parish wasn’t gonna be pushed around. In one practice Parish made a mistake and Jordan got in his face. That was the moment to let MJ and everyone else know he won’t be talked to like that (via ESPN):
“I told him, ‘I’m not as enamored with you as these other guys. I’ve got some rings too,’ ” Parish recalled. “At that point he told me, ‘I’m going to kick your ass.’ I took one step closer and said, ‘No, you really aren’t.’ After that he didn’t bother me.”Robert Parish
All the greatest tough guys will tell you the same thing – they have the utmost respect for people who stand up to them and can back their words up. Shaq telling the story when Jerry West stopped him from trashing the bathroom after a loss is a perfect example. Alpha types will push everyone around, but respect the ones that won’t let it slide.