Michael Jordan’s competitive drive is a mystery to some. Probably because we have never or will never see anyone like him again. Commentator and podcaster Joe Rogan tried to parse out Jordan’s will to win by comparing him to gladiators, and generals. He made some interesting arguments to beef up his point.
Apart from his six rings, Rogan recalled the great Jordan stories that revealed his crazy competitive drive. There was one instance when Jordan, already retired, drove to the Chicago Bulls practice gym just to beat up a trash talker. From Rogan’s point of view, Jordan and other achievers in their field are wired differently from their peers.
“I think there are psychological issues that these extreme winners have. You don’t get to where they are without them. It’s like where the illness becomes beneficial, right? If you’re not sadistic you don’t make a good serial killer. If you’re not narcissistic or an egomaniac, I wonder if you ever become a guy like Michael Jordan who’s just so dominant,” Rogan said.
“The Last Dance” gives credence to Rogan’s analysis. His teammates revealed that Jordan stepped on their toes to drive home a point. Yes, he was the Chicago Bulls’ leader and captain. But his approach was almost oppressive. He put fear in his teammates.
From a psychological analysis, Rogan tried to compare Jordan’s mindset to other dynamos from other fields. According to him, if Jordan lived in an era and wasn’t a basketball player, he’d be a general commanding an army of millions.
“As far as like to be that kind of an achiever, you have to have a madness about you that’s probably intolerable for most people. Just the desire to win, conquer. In other days man, those were gladiators, in other days those were generals,” Rogan said.
It’s a pretty accurate analysis. Some of the greatest men and women in history were the products of wars and great skirmishes. If Jordan lived during those times, he’d probably be mentioned in the same sentence as Napoleon, Genghis Khan, and Alexander the Great.
Perhaps the whole world is lucky that Jordan didn’t fall in love with a bloodsport. Instead, he fell in love with basketball, which is pretty harmless. Like the great conquerors of history, Jordan wanted to win by any means necessary. Unlike them, he didn’t leave a trail of dead bodies behind. Instead, MJ collected championship jewelry.