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  • Valentin Danielescu

PARADOX

Updated: Jul 15, 2020

I have recently read a post that tickled my curiosity: one of my friends wrote quite an extensive post about The Last Dance on social media. In few words, a 10-episode documentary on Michael Jordan's impact over the Chicago Bulls franchise during the 80s and 90s. The mini-series can be viewed and interpreted in many ways (such as financial management, leadership styles, on-the-court tactics, mix of personalities etc), however the thing that got my full attention was presence. But first...


I spent my mid-90s attending high-school. It was at that time that due to some contextual facts I was introduced to NBA/professional basketball. Coincidentally, those 4 years overlapped with most of Chicago's peak performance interval. My high-school desk mate was a huge Chicago Bulls fan. I remember the intense conversations we had around basketball, our drive to steal few minutes here and there for a quick 1 vs. 1, the fun we had debating the game we have seen that (very-very) early morning. He was one of the many fans the franchise created even in Romania back then. It was Chicago Bulls here, Chicago Bulls there, Chicago Bulls everywhere. And, of course, everybody wanted to be Michael. Everyone tried to "fly" under the hoop while moving the ball from one hand to another and making that point. I hated that - it was too mainstream, too common, too easy to support the best (or what seemed to be and invincible squad). I used to support Charles Barkley's Phoenix Suns but my disrespect towards Chicago Bulls made me support each team against they were playing (especially the finals, be it Seattle Supersonics or Utah Jazz).


I started watching the documentary from this point of "cannot stand them". With each episode that passed I started to build respect for the intense effort that was spent to orchestrate that winning streak. Towards the end of the mini-series I even started to look at each clip from games with a desire for Chicago to win and for Michael to make that final shot. Life does pose a sense of irony, isn't it? Or should I say: paradox?


I will not discuss Michael or the controversy around his personality or lifestyle. Nor will I discuss if the mini-series was created to put him in a good light in front of the public. What I want to acknowledge is something that a vast majority of the interviewed folks agreed upon: Michael's incredible abilities to self-motivate and be present. I am not sure if this was native with Jordan or simply a matter of personality, however these two tactics are used in coaching to accompany you determine what is truly important, set an objective out of that, split it in small and achievable steps, create a plan with timelines and so on.


Could Michael have done it alone? History demonstrated that even MJ could not do it alone and needed a Phil Jackson, a Scottie Pippen, a Dennis Rodman (and the list could continue) to team up with him and win all these titles. At times, we need to realize that there are a bunch of folks around us whom we can team up with to achieve a specific objective.


I finished the series and watched it for the 2nd time some weeks later. I am still mesmerized by the number of introspection opportunities this documentary offered me (for me).


What is your objective?

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