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How to Be Like Mike: Life Lessons about Basketball's Bestby Pat Williams
By Grant Hill
Orlando Magic All-Star
Even though tens of thousands wear Air Jordans, there will never be another who fills Michael Jordan's shoes--and I know from personal experience! I am flattered by comparisons, but realistically I can never live up to his achievements. What MJ has done for basketball, sports in general, race relations . . . it's incalculable. It's time to give "Who's going to be the next Michael Jordan?" a rest. It's unfair to Michael and to every other aspiring athlete.
The fascination with MJ continues. Will he return? People want him back so badly. He has had such an enormous hold on us and our culture. His presence as an active player has been sorely missed. The eleven chapters that follow capture Michael's persona perfectly. He schooled us on and off the court, and as one of his students, I give him A pluses across the board.
Pat Williams and Michael Weinreb have captured the essence of Michael Jordan in an extraordinary way. This book is thoroughly researched, and the lessons from MJ's career are so vividly explained that you will be able to apply them in your life. When you have "completed the MJ course," you will discover that all of us can be like Mike.
August 1, 2001 Orlando, Florida
From Chapter Ten
Only those who respect others can be of use to them.
This is a story from Birmingham, from 1994, when Michael Jordan was nothing more than another minor-league baseball player striving for an opportunity. It was a brilliant afternoon, warm and sunny, and he was on his way to the ballpark, cutting through a sprawling suburban neighborhood. He passed a boy, ten years old, playing basketball in his driveway, alone. The boy's name is not important. It could be any boy.
What matters is what the man did next.
He stopped the car. He got out. The boy considered him. The boy knew who it was.
"Mind if I join you?" Jordan asked.
The boy nodded.
They played for twenty minutes, passing, rebounding, shooting, the world's greatest basketball player and the boy, no one disturbing them. Then Jordan got in his car and drove away.
The boy's parents weren't home that afternoon. When he told them, they didn't believe him. No one believed him. It was like something out of Grimm's Fairy Tales.
"Finally," said Birmingham Barons general manager Tony Ensor, "one of the neighbors verified his story."
Here is the Michael Jordan we don't see. Here is what exists beyond the iconography. It is not a prepackaged smile, not a silhouetted T-shirt slogan, not a commercial spokesman, not a towering image on an IMAX screen.
No. Here is a man. And here is a child.
It could be any child. Say a nine-year-old with disfiguring burns. Or a teenager in a wheelchair who can move nothing except his eyes. Or a Make-A-Wish kid crippled by a rare and terminal disease. Or one of the perfectly healthy kids at his summer basketball camp. Or the son of an opposing coach. The point is, it does not matter.
What matters is what the man does next...
(c)2001. All rights reserved. Reprinted from How to be Like Mike by Pat Williams, Michael Weinreb. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications,3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
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