They call it “The Shot” — one of the greatest clutch plays from the greatest competitor to play the game of basketball. It was Game 5 of the first round of the 1989 NBA playoffs — Michael Jordan shooting one of the most memorable buzzer beaters in the history of the NBA playoffs.
With 6 seconds left in the game, a jumper by Jordan put the Bulls ahead of the Cavaliers (99-98) for the first time the entire game. Then Cleveland scored (100-99) to take back the lead with 3.2 seconds left in the game.
Everything was on the line.
Jim Durham, announcing the game, describes “The Shot” this way: “The inbound pass comes in to Jordan. Here’s Michael at the foul line, the shot on Craig Ehlo … GOOD! The Bulls win! They win! Superman was Superman….”
It was an awesome moment for a player many argue to be the best ever.
But Jordan wasn’t just known for his winning shots. He was legendary for fierce competitiveness in practice where he developed new skills to take his game to the next level. “Run it back, run it back,” he yelled when his team lost in practice. “Let’s do it again until we win.”
He practiced like winning mattered.
Which is why he ended up winning so much. At the end of his Hall of Fame career his list of accomplishments is shockingly unmatched.
He was a 14-time NBA All-Star, 11-time All-NBA selection, 10-time scoring champion, 6-time NBA champion, 7-time The Sporting News Most Valuable Player, 6 NBA Finals appearances, 6-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, 5-time NBA Most Valuable Player, 3-time steals leader, 3-time USA Basketball male athlete of the year, 3-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, 2-time Olympic gold medal winner, 2-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion, and 1-time the NBA Defensive Player of the Year — among many others awards.
He won because he was ready to win.
He practiced as hard as he played. Every pass and play was a moment to compete and conquer and win.
It was a mindset. An attitude. A commitment to doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes in order to win.
That’s a reminder to the rest of us that taking the shot doesn’t really matter if you’re not ready for it.
Don’t complain when you can’t seem to get your “lucky break”. Maybe you’re just wasting your moments for greatness.