Chapter 35: Michael and his critics
Despite all the adoring fans, Michael Jordan still had plenty of critics. And it wasn’t like the critics came out of nowhere once Jordan became famous, they were there from day one. The only thing that changed was what they criticized.
Michael’s response to his critics was simple. He never argued with them or dismissed them, instead he kept quiet and listened. Instead of taking them negatively, Jordan always took them as a challenge. It didn’t matter what the criticisms were, Michael would answer his critics by working harder to improve his game. He would take any apparent weaknesses in his game and work them into strengths, and in the process he would prove the critics wrong.
They said he couldn’t shoot
When Michael Jordan first came into the league, his critics pegged him as just a slasher and a dunker who could not shoot from the outside. Michael took that criticism and focused his efforts on improving his shot. He shot, and shot, and just kept on shooting. He worked on it so much that his shot became another weapon in his arsenal, and it made him even more dangerous on the court. That shut up his first round of critics.
They said he can’t play defense
Now that the critics couldn’t pick on Michael’s shooting, they started picking on his defense. Coming from Dean Smith’s system at UNC, Michael did have some trouble adjusting to the NBA style of defense. The criticism against Michael was that he was not a very strong straight up defender, and that he also took too many chances on defense trying to get steals. Michael had always wanted to be recognized for his defense, and these criticisms gave him the additional motivation he needed.
In the 1987-88 season, Jordan’s efforts on defense paid off. He not only led the league in steals, but he also led the Bulls in blocked shots. His defensive prowess was so dominating that he won the defensive player of the year award, along with the season MVP. Michael had proved to everyone that he was not just a scoring machine but a great defender as well. Jordan again quieted his critics. 2-0 Michael.
The biggest critic of all
The reason why Michael Jordan was never bothered by what the critics said about him is because Michael was always the biggest critic of himself. The standards he set for himself was always higher than any standard set for him by others. His indomitable will and determination drove him to surpass all expectations set upon him. But even for Michael Jordan, there seemed to be one goal that was still out of his reach.
Making his teammates better
The one thing that truly troubled Jordan was his inability to lead the Bulls to success in the playoffs. They had reached the playoffs three times, and suffered disappointing losses each time against tougher, and more experienced teams. It was a difficult problem since it was not something Michael could work on and accomplish by himself, he needed to get his teammates more involved in the winning process. The criticism against Michael now was that although he was a great individual talent, he lacked the leadership to make his teammates better.
His critics had obviously not learned their lesson, for they should have known that Michael Jordan would do whatever it took to prove them wrong.
Hey guys, do you think Michael Jordan can be considered one of the NBA’s best leaders? I want to hear your answers.