In this article, I will attempt to summarize the thoughts of the author of the famous Nike commercial of the 90s. We all know Michael Jordan, but how many of us understand his life? Was he as humble as he seemed?
Mike is one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports. His size, speed, and agility are unrivaled, with a rare combination of strength and ability to excel at both sprinting and jumping. But I think it’s safe to say that his athleticism is also responsible for his downfall. When the NBA season began in late September, the headlines were dominated by the Warriors, an impressive team that had dethroned the Miami Heat in the prior year’s finals and was poised to do the same again. But then the Warriors got a surprise: they lost to the Knicks.
Many of today’s NBA stars only started playing basketball because of Michael Jordan. A passionate love of the game, a mentality of winning at all costs and amazing skills on the field attracted many young players to the sport in the 1980s and 1990s.
Chris Paul’s love of the game is also inspired by Jordan, but not in the way you’d think.
Chris Paul and Michael Jordan at Jordan Brand’s exclusive FABULOUS 23 dinner in 2010. Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Jordan Brand.
Growing up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Paul was immediately attracted to Jordan, a native of Wilmington, as a fan. Jordan went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Paul did the same, enrolling at nearby Wake Forest University in 2003.
Just before leaving school, Paul attended the Jordan Brand Classic, the annual high school all-star game in Washington D.C. While in town for the All-Star Game, Paul also got the chance to attend Jordan’s last game in Washington for the Wizards.
A few years later, Paul even got the chance to play on Jordan’s team at one of his summer camps. Almost two decades later, Paul still can’t believe he’s grown up and befriended his childhood idol.
As a child, Paul realized his love for basketball through Jordan himself. Earlier this year, the Phoenix Suns point guard explained to Maria Taylor of ESPN that without MJ, he might not play in the NBA anymore.
I play this game and I loved it because of Michael Jordan, Paul said. For me, it always will be. I’m not in the NBA. Without Michael Jordan, I wouldn’t have the will or the want.
Paul also explained that his passion for the sport was born after seeing the little known short film Michael Jordan’s Playground. First released in 1990, the film can’t decide whether it’s a documentary about Jordan’s career or a film about a teenager trying to get on his high school’s basketball team after being cut from it the year before. It contains a haphazard alternation of highlights from Jordan’s life, interviews with NBA players, and scenes where Jordan gives life advice to a teenager.
Does this movie deserve a Grammy Award? Not in the least.
But is this story an inspiration to a young basketball fan? According to Paul, absolutely.
My brother and I used to come home from school – and maybe I’m inaccurate – but we used to watch something called Michael Jordan’s Playground, Paul explained. For example, every day when we came home from school, we would watch Michael Jordan’s Playground. It had MJ in it, it had Public Enemy in it, and it was just, you know, I want to be like Mike.
Paul also said that he and his brother used to go to Chicago Bulls games as kids.
We’ve been watching the WGN games. Mike’s game started at 7 or 7:30, he said. There were no DVRs back then, so we had to sit in front of the TV to watch it. So the love and passion for the game comes from MJ.
Jordan may have been the inspiration for Paul’s basketball career, but CP3’s hard work and determination were the key. Decades later, Paul is a living legend who will one day go down in NBA history as one of the greatest point guards of all time. The only thing missing from his incredible resume?
Paul reached the Finals for the first time in his career this season, and his Suns already lead 1-0 in the series against the Milwaukee Bucks. In Phoenix’s first game, Paul scored 32 points and handed out nine assists, proving he was ready for this moment his entire career.
Paul may already be in the Hall of Fame alongside Jordan, but he’s also three wins away from following his idol as an NBA champion.
COMPARED TO: Chris Paul makes historic NBA Finals debut as Michael Jordan
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