There is no harder worker in the history of basketball than Michael Jordan. The legend of his determination to be the best is well known amongst NBA fans, but that final push to break barriers and go to another level happened during his college days, thanks in large part to the legendary coach Roy Williams.
Icons of the sport
Michael Jordan and Roy Williams both had a huge impact on the game, each in their own respective way. We all know all about MJ, his illustrious career, accolades, highlights, and legacy, as he is to this day considered by the majority of fans the greatest basketball player of all time.
On the other side, Roy Williams is an absolute legend of college basketball. Known for coaching the Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina Tar Heels, coach Roy has had immense success in the world of NCAA basketball. Winning 3 National championships and going into retirement earlier this year with an all-time 903-264 record only cemented his spot amongst the best coaches in history.
The relationship between the two
Long before Roy Williams became one of the most prominent coaches in college basketball, he was serving as an assistant at UNC between 1978 and 1988. Right at the time when Michael Jordan came into town to prepare for his NBA career. At this point, MJ's name wasn't too known, and he was far from the most recruited high school players of that time. But the staff at UNC saw the potential and took a chance on the kid. A decision that would prove to be the jackpot.
The incredible athleticism and desire to compete made MJ stand out, as Roy immediately knew how good he could be. But one conversation between the two really helped Michael take his game to the next level and become the best of all time:
"I just saw him on a Sunday afternoon, and I thought, oh my gosh, this might be the best 6'4'' high school player I've ever seen. But none of us knew he was gonna be Michael Jordan. He was just gifted, but he had a desire that was different from everybody else. He told me he wanted to be the best player ever at North Carolina. I've said: 'You gotta work harder than you did in high school.' He said: 'I work as hard as everybody else.' I said: 'Excuse me, I thought you told me you wanted to be the best. You have no chance. No chance.' Two days later, he came back, said: 'I'm gonna show you nobody will ever outwork me,' and nobody ever has to this day."
Roy Williams, ">Graham Bensinger
Although very simple, Roy's advice opened MJ's eyes. If you want to be the best of all time, you have to work harder than everybody else. There is no way around it. And that's exactly what Jordan did.
He worked on perfecting his craft through his whole career, gradually becoming a better player by the years and erasing any weakness he had. That is why he ultimately became a six-time champion and the face of basketball. A true example of how Jordan gave blood, sweat, and tears to become what he is.