We are all aware Michael Jordan belongs in the GOAT conversation, even though that debate depends on your personal preferences. The thing that made Jordan so great was his incredible combination of talent, skill, physical characteristics, and the right mindset that enabled him to understand how things work if you want to be the best at your craft. The Last Dance documentary gave us a better insight into his working habits and how he handled different things related to his team’s overall success.
One story that also shows Jordan’s greatness and dedication to work was when Tim Grover talked about the first time he started working out with Jordan. In the ’80s, NBA players were not so focused on personal fitness since improving their basketball skillset was of the utmost importance. Jordan was one of the first players to hire a personal trainer that would be at his disposal 24/7, and that was Grover. They worked closely together for over a decade, which gave Grover time to understand how Jordan’s mind works and what separates him from everyone else.
Michael was different, what we were doing was different in 89. He was the first person in a professional sport to hire a trainer like me, as an individual, and have me available to him 24/7. A lot of people think that the best in their fields, in basketball or business or whatever, are the ones who are so good that they don’t need the help. But the opposite is true. Someone like Michael was constantly looking for help, for ways to get better, and find out new information.Tim Grover, via From Good to Great to Unstoppable
Grover shared multiple stories that prove Jordan was truly one of a kind, and despite the fact he was the best player in the NBA, he understood competition was so fierce he needs to use every day to get better than everyone else. Grover worked with Jordan daily throughout the entire season, and there was no such thing as a day off in the grand scheme of things. After every game, Grover would ask Jordan whether it is 5,6 or 7 in the morning when they are meeting for practice, and if he wasn’t injured, there is no way Jordan was missing out on training.
He expected the same type of engagement from his teammates, and Toni Kukoc often said that Bulls’ practices were more intense than games. Jordan would push them to play and compete above what they are used to, and even though they hated that sometimes, they were all aware it was the best thing that could happen to them. That effort eventually translated into multiple NBA championships and a legacy that is unmatched still to this day.