Greatness Comes Without Complacency

This is a cross-post from my basketball blog, Rockin’ The Rim. Though it reads about Michael Jordan and the game of basketball, the focus is on his nature as a competitor and the motivation he lived with to succeed every day; something we all can benefit from – basketball or not.

When it comes to the NBA and the word greatness, one person that will always pop up in our minds is Michael Jordan. We all know him for what he’s done on the basketball court and the success of 6 NBA Championships that followed. Countless MVPs, regular and postseason, All-Star Appearances, and a myriad of other accolades. The most noted achievement came last week as MJ was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2009.


It was inevitable, as we all knew even while he was still playing that he was a special player and that he’d be recognized for that one day. I admittedly missed watching the ceremony live on ESPN but I caught up with all the speeches online and was truly moved when listening to Michael talk about the game, but more so hearing more about his mentality as a competitor.

He’s fought every day to get to where he’s at today and he’s constantly pushed himself & his teammates to succeed. His motivation comes from his family, as well as from coaches and players that he’s connected with throughout his career. He used the naysayers and his competitors to push him and to prove them wrong.

This competitive nature was summed up at the end of his speech with this great quote:

Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.

Though his speech may have raised a bit of a debate as to whether he’s ‘too competitive’, no one can deny that his nature was that of non-complacency and is the reason why many of us think of him as one of the greatest players to play the game.

He never settled; nor did he ever give up.

He succeeded, but it was never enough.

Every one of his victories and championships were cherished like it were his first, but he was never satisfied. That passion and thirst for more from the game of basketball stayed within him – and I don’t doubt that same drive is still with him to this day.

So if you haven’t seen his speech, take some time out to watch it: part 1, part 2, part 3.

What do you think of his competitive nature? Is it extreme or is it something that can be instilled in all of us? I want to hear how someone’s own success inspires you.

Photo credit: barnezy

3 comments On Greatness Comes Without Complacency

  • I also loved that quote. I don’t see how people can say MJ was too competitive. I don’t have a problem with people who put competition below other things in life. That’s a choice people must make. But you certainly can’t fault an athlete for being too competitive, especially when competition is at the root of all sports. If you truly want to be the best, you have to accept the fact that people are always trying to outwork you and outsmart you, so you have to be better. Every single game.

  • @Jason – I agree that not only in basketball, but whichever industry you’re a part of, this type of competitive nature is necessary to be able to out-hustle and excel in your own goals but to get ahead of the competition. Our own competition within the social media space grows constantly and for us to be innovative and testing the limits of this industry, we have to be willing to step outside of the box of complacency and be willing to put it on the line every single day.

    What also strikes me is that you don’t see many players in the NBA with this type of mentality. They are very few that I could name off the top of my head, and so goes in the SM realm. You don’t have to be born with it but you’ve got to WANT this.

    Appreciate the thoughts, Jason!

  • Pingback: DR. WHAW? – September 14, 2009 « One true sentence. ()

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.