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“Highest Level of Basketball and I Was Lowest on the Totem Pole”: Billionaire Michael Jordan Once Got Real on Emotions That Drove His Entire NBA Legacy

Published 10/12/2022, 11:00 AM EDT

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Michael Jordan carved out a legendary career for himself. Boasting an otherworldly offensive skill set and the ability to glide across the court, ‘His Airness’ conquered the NBA court like none other. He was the catalyst for the Chicago Bulls from the outset, winning them six NBA titles in the 1990s.

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His competitive drive and unwavering faith in his talents set him apart from the rest. Jordan was addicted to winning and was consumed with proving himself to be the best player on the floor every night. It took countless gym reps and unflinching dedication for him to reach the pinnacle of basketball. Before that, Jordan was just a teenager, aiming to make it to the NBA like countless others.


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In 1982, not many people were familiar with Jordan, a skinny freshman at North Carolina. In fact, he arguably wasn’t even the best player for the Tar Heels. However, what made him a cut above the rest was his competitiveness. His unparalleled desire to maintain an intense work ethic and learn, saw him get better over time. All of this was fueled by his desire to prove himself, which has come to define his legendary NBA legacy.

In an interview, Jordan highlighted that one thing that stayed with him throughout his career after making the big jump from college to the NBA was the drive to prove himself.

Michael Jordan underlined that the need to prove himself was persistent throughout his NBA career

Michael Jordan, in the famous one-on-one interview with Ahmad Rashad, said that things changed drastically after his big transition from college to the NBA.

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“It was a new beginning once I got to Chicago”, the Bulls legend claimed. “I’ve been in college, my name changed from Mike Jordan to Michael Jordan and now I was on a bigger stage,” he added.


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Jordan went on to emphasize how he still needed to prove himself and work hard to reach the apex.

“It was the highest level of basketball, and yet, I was the lowest on the totem pole. And if I ever wanted to be considered the best basketball player I can be, I had to work my way up that ladder”, said the six-time NBA champion.

And right from the onset, Jordan was undoubtedly a menace on the NBA court. From day one, ‘Jumpman’ established himself as a bonafide superstar in the league. But he didn’t stop there.


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Throughout his career, he encountered many obstacles. Nonetheless, Jordan was always able to overcome those challenges owing to his competitive drive and desire to prove himself. It’s fair to say that he never did things half-heartedly because he knew that the results that will follow will be half-hearted as well.


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What is your favorite moment from Michael Jordan’s legendary career? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Written by:

Ritvik Malhotra


One take at a time

Ritvik is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University, Ritvik has finally got his foot in the door as a professional sports writer. He previously interned at another media house where he authored over 150 soccer articles, but he is now writing about his primary obsession, basketball.
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Edited by:

Veer Badani