LeBron James recently faced criticism for his comments on a dispute between the NBA and the Chinese government.
China has an ongoing conflict with Hong Kong in which civil liberties are being fought over, with China’s governmental system— which is not democratic like America’s — the stronger party.
Unlike in the USA, in China, you can’t freely speak out or protest against the government and get away with it.
Some people in America think the NBA, and in turn, people like LeBron, are wrong to continue doing any business in or with China while such a conflict continues.
LBJ’s comments, in which he didn’t say much, were widely perceived as neutral at best, and pro-China and pro-business at worst.
With LeBron being the biggest name in the basketball world right now, some people brought up the fact that Michael Jordan, himself once the biggest name in the game, stayed away from commenting on anything non-basketball.
Why should anyone criticize LeBron for giving a no-comment comment now, some say, when Jordan never gave any comments on anything? People asked.
That’s a fair question.
Michael himself, who owns the Charlotte Hornets and is a billionaire from the sales of his eponymous line of sneakers, is not on social media and doesn’t do many interviews.
But Mike did recently announce the grand opening of a health center for the underprivileged in Charlotte. He did some press for that.
He was asked, lightly, about his well-noted absence from any socially-charged discussions during his playing days.
His answer (I’m paraphrasing): I was so focused on succeeding in basketball, that I didn’t pay enough attention to anything else to even have much of an opinion.
Some people won’t accept that answer as “good enough.”
They’ll see it as a cop-out.
The way things are today, with our digging-up-your-past tendencies, people can retroactively label Mike “wrong” for having not talked about politics, Black issues, and other things. Kevin Hart learned this when he “lost” his Oscar-hosting gig over some homophobic joke-tweets from ten years prior.
I see things a bit differently.
When Michael Jordan said what he said (it was an interview with the TODAY show, not ESPN or any sports platform), I believed him.
The guy’s main business, his ONLY business, by all accounts, was kicking ass all over the basketball court. Michael Jordan never pretended to be anything other than the best basketball player.
Yes, he had endorsements and made movies and was a busy pitchman in his off time.
But, had he ever needed to choose between basketball and all that other stuff, MJ was choosing basketball. Besides maybe his family, nothing was more important to him than his day job.
In this way, he was the exact opposite of many of today’s (More-Than-An-) Athletes.
Today’s athletes aren’t comfortable with just playing a sport well and maximizing their abilities in it (which you can’t possibly do without 100% focus on ONE thing). They WANT to have all these other titles — rapper, entrepreneur, activist — in addition to “athlete.”
It’s not right or wrong. It just “is.”
ESPN has teased a special 10-part series that’s coming in 2020. It’s all about the Chicago Bulls’ “Last Dance” 1998 season, when Jordan and team won their 6th championship in 8 seasons.
Asked about this upcoming special in his health clinic TODAY Show interview, MJ admitted that he actually didn’t want to have it aired. He was — and probably still is, and will be — concerned about how his actions will be perceived by the viewing public.
I’m not sure that people will quite understand the mindset that it took for me to do what I did as a player, Jordan explained.
I did an hour-long “Virtual Mentors” episode [#1217] dedicated to Michael Jordan. I’ve read his books, and the multiple books written about him. I’ve seen interviews of people who were close to him.
What people said about MJ, and what MJ said recently about himself are all congruent.
He had one sole focus. And his results on the court reflect that.
That’s why, 20-plus years after his iconic Chicago Bulls run and without any social media presence and while doing hardly any press, Jordan still sells more shoes than any active athlete.
When I think about that, then I look at the players playing today, it all makes sense.
None of them has done, on the court, what Jordan did. And while it’s possible, I suppose, that maybe they could if they tried, we won’t ever find out: None of them is content with doing only ONE thing, even if that one thing is the main reason why we know them in the first place.
When you’re that IN on your main thing, the business that you’re in, you don’t have time, attention or energy to give to anything else.
This is not good or bad. It’s just what “is.”
What’s funny is, I think many people are afraid to have this level of focus. Because once you decide that you’re in, you have to make it work. You don’t have any other options.
Most people are afraid of such a commitment. So they try doing “everything” — it’s safer.
They can be OK at a bunch of things, and they’ll never be expected to be great at any of them.
There’s a place for this for some people.
But we’re not all the same.
To develop the focus to get focused and stay focused on your main thing, without getting distracted by all the other “options” out there begging for your attention, you need Discipline. That’s why I made the 30 Days To Discipline course to help you do so in less than a month.
Get started with 30 Days To Discipline here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/30