NBA stars nowadays have figured out winning a championship requires them to join forces with each other to a much larger extent than players from the past. Don’t get me wrong, superteams have always existed, but they were usually created through drafts, making the right trade, or signing the right player, unlike today when superstar players choose actively to team up to win a championship.
Michael Jordan is one of those players who despised playing with other NBA stars since he was trying to beat them every time he played against them. However, Jordan was so confident in himself he never actually taught he needed other All-Star players to win games. In his book, Jordan’s personal trainer Tim Grover talks about Jordan’s confidence and why he never wanted to team up with other great players in the NBA at that time. He also shared that the Bulls management was actively trying to get Jordan to recruit other players.
Michael possessed unshakable confidence in himself that never wavered. He didn’t have to know what was coming, but he was always ready. He knew when to take the shot and when to pass to someone else. When to talk and when to stay silent. When to speed up and when to slow down. When to respond to criticism and when to laugh it off. He never recruited superstars to play alongside him, although the organization was always asking him to do so.Tim Grover, via Winning: : The Unforgiving Race to Greatness
Grover also talked about a specific situation in which the Bulls asked Jordan to participate in a pitch when they were trying to get Sam Bowie to play for the team. Everyone was doing their part of the pitch, and when it came to Jordan to try and convince Bowie to play for the team, Jordan simply said if he wants to join, he can join because he plans to win with him or without him.
At one point, the Bulls management ask him to be part of a conference call with Sam Bowie, who was a free agent at the time. Everyone made their pitch to Sam about why he should join the Bulls and how much the team wanted and needed him in Chicago. Phil made his pitch, along with Jerry Krause and Scottie…and then it was MJ’s turn. “Sam, you comin or not? He said. We’re winning with or without you.” His belief in himself was so powerful he never doubted the outcome.Tim Grover, via Winning: : The Unforgiving Race to Greatness
Jordan was a fierce competitor, which was a big part of his DNA and mindset ever since coming to the NBA. He never asked for an easy way to a championship or wanted to recruit other NBA great players to join the Bulls. Instead, he patiently waited for Pippen to evolve and, later on, other players who played a crucial part in the Bulls’ success throughout all those championship runs. Obviously, times are different now, and things have changed in many ways, with players having more options and more power to choose what they want out of their careers. They are no longer staying with the same franchise their entire career, and teaming up with other great players has become the norm and not an exception.
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