Successful Failures – Michael Jordan

This is part four of a series by *AT* contributor Emily Thomas. When we think about people whose lives we would like to closely emulate, more often than not we think of people who have accomplished great things and led successful lives. However, not everyone who is on top has experienced success after success, and some of the most memorable people in history have faced great obstacles to reach their full potential. Not only is this list informative, but it serves as a great self-esteem booster for any time you are feeling as though you can’t strive to become the next Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, or Steve Jobs.

Most people (including myself) wouldn’t believe that the man who has been called the greatest basketball player of all time was once considered a failure. In fact, when Michael Jordan was a sophomore in high school, he was CUT from the basketball team for being too short and not at the skill level of other varsity players. After being forced to play on the junior varsity team, Jordan became the star and won games scoring over 40 points per game. He spent the entire summer before his senior year training vigorously and eating a box of Wheaties daily to grow a whopping four inches in three months. (Not 100 percent sure if he really ate a whole box of Wheaties, but what else could explain such a growth spurt?)

He went on to becoming selected for the McDonald’s All-American team where he was offered a scholarship to UNC Chapel Hill. After entering the NBA in 1984 with the Chicago Bulls, he quickly became a sports superstar; his ability to rack up points and perform amazing slam dunks earned him the name “Air Jordan”. He led the Bulls to three straight NBA championship wins in 1991, 1992, and 1993.

However, even after so much success, he was still not immune to failure. After the 1993 season, he retired from basketball to play baseball. Needless to say, he was pretty awful; he never even played for a major league team. After a short time, he returned to the Chicago Bulls, and led the team to another three straight NBA titles in 1996, 1997, and 1998 – including his very last shot with the Bulls, which turned out to be the game winner in the 1998 NBA Finals.

After his basketball career, he continued to achieve great success with his line of Nike shoes and various endorsements. Open about his failures, he claims that they are the thing that led to his success today stating that, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”


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