Michael Jordan, who is widely considered the greatest baseball player to ever live, was all charisma off the court and a cold-blooded killer on the court. I won’t go into all of Jordan’s accolades, as I would be writing all night, but he was clearly a rare talent.
However it was Jordan’s, confidence, work ethic, drive and unshakable mentality, that elevated him to the highest level greatness. Jordan is a competitor of the most extreme degree. He refused to accept losing and never backed down from a challenge.
Michael Jordan was motivated by competition. He was the type of person who looked for a challenge in all areas. Mike was not only dedicated to being the best player he could be from a skill perspective, he was also dedicated to dominating the mental aspect of basketball. He wanted to destroy his opponents will in every way imaginable.
Michael Wilbon formerly of the Washington Post and now an ESPN commentator, spoke to Jordan’s former teammate Craig Hodges. Hodges gave this account about what happened when Scottie Pippen, a fellow Hall of Fame player, challenged Michael to one on one duel in practice:
"“I can remember this time in, I think, 1990 when Scottie decided to challenge Michael one day in practice,” Hodges said. “Michael kind of backed up for a half-second. Then he proceeded, literally, to score on Scottie at will. It was incredible. I mean, Scottie Pippen even then was one of the best players in the league and Michael just rained points on him. Scottie had to step back and say, ‘Slow up, man.’ “"
Jordan took any outside criticism or perceived slight and used it to fuel the inferno that already raged within him. Sometimes the perceived slight wasn’t even real, but rather something that Jordan would conjure up, to give him motivation that he could use to gain an edge.
The following quote from a 1998 Washington Post article written by Michael Wilbon, refers to Michael Jordan using the fact that he was there to write about another player, as motivation prior to a game. :
"“One night in Chicago, Jordan asked whom I had come to write about. It was an opposing player with Washington ties who was averaging 20-plus points a game, having a great season. “Well, what are you going to write when he gets no points tonight?” Jordan asked. “I’m telling you right now, your boy is getting nothing.” When Jordan and the Chicago starters went to the bench toward the end of a blowout two hours later, the player I went to write about had three points and Jordan had made him nuts.”"