3 Valuable Lessons We Can All Learn from Michael Jordan

Jordan Mendiola

Photo by Jay Mullings on Unsplash


Michael Jordan took over Netflix with his popular 10-part series of “The Last Dance”. When viewers finished binging Tiger King, they were not let down with this masterpiece.

The MJ documentary is incredibly entertaining especially in a time when sports are currently not taking place. The Last Dance is honestly the most influential sports documentary I have ever watched.

I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. — Michael Jordan

Watching this series over the past few weeks has given me something to look forward to, especially because I’ve lived in Chicago for the past 8 years. I feel a personal connection knowing that I’ve visited his estate, played ball in his old practice facility, and because I was named after him.

If you’re reading this, then you have probably heard a lot of buzz about this series on Netflix and want to know if it really is worth watching. To that I say, 100%, yes!

So many lessons can be taken from Michael Jordan. His philosophies portrayed throughout the film taught me so much about being competitive, always being present, and battling adversity.

You Have to Be Competitive if You Want to be the Best

Ever since he was a kid, Michael Jordan was an incredibly hard worker. He thrived in both baseball and basketball. Known by his nickname the “black cat”, Jordan was cut from the high school basketball team as a sophomore and turned out to be basketball’s greatest basketball player.

The Chicago Bulls were led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and head coach Phil Jackson. The trio ended up winning 6 NBA championship rings between 1991 and 1998 with two three-peats.

Michael Jordan was a mean teammate

His teammates said that many of the times, they hated Michael. He would be a dick in the locker room and on the court to them. What his teammates and many more noticed later on was that he was making them a better team through with his competitive attitude.

Since MJ was the hardest working player on the court and by far the most talented, his guys recognized that in order to win championships they needed to show up like he did.

Michael was a leader who you didn’t want to let down. He put blood, sweat, and tears into his incredible career as a basketball player.

The Flu Game

My favorite part of the entire series was episode IX, where Michael played is famous “Flu Game”. He got food poisoning the night before game 5 of the NBA finals in 1997 versus the Utah Jazz.

He was absolutely defeated in the beginning of the game. Every time the game was stopped for a time out or a quarter change, he appeared as though his soul had left his body. Scoring record lows in the beginning shocked his teammates and the rest of the world.

MJ said “If I’m going to be the best, I’m have to be able to play through anything”. This man played for 44 of 48 minutes and scored an astounding 38 points. Nobody believed he could do it, but as he usually does, shocked the world.

To be the best, you do whatever it takes.

Be Present at all Times

Whether it was on the court or off the court, MJ gave you his all and he was present. Much of the way he operated was thanks to his loving mother and father who instilled good qualities into him since a young age.

The Media Loved Him

The reason The Last Dance was able to be documented in such a behind the scenes fashion is because MJ gave the press full permission to film his conversations and career.

Interviews after the games would be full of fun when he won and with realistic life-lessons when he lost.

“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” — MJ

He could light up any room he was in by his positivity and iconic persona. Everyone would quiet down when Michael had something to say. He is an incredible communicator and is not afraid to be who he is.

“If we miss the moment, we miss the clues. In the present, when we allow ourselves to fully live there, we are restored, made wiser, made deeper and happier”— Marianne Williamson

Battle through the Adversity When Times Get Tough

The list of adversity Michael Jordan has been put through throughout his entire career is massive.

If it were any other basketball player going through what he did, I don’t believe that they could have performed at as high of a level as he did.

Brief List of Obstacles Jordan Faced

  1. He was considered an average player in college
  2. He had to put on more weight and muscle in order to sustain against injuries & become even more competitive
  3. He played an NBA finals game with the Flu
  4. His dad was murdered which led him to retire from the game for a while
  5. Had to overcome doubters who didn’t think he could win another championship (let alone 3-peat) after losing in the playoffs in his return

MJ taught me that you can’t back down when obstacles are bestowed upon you. Whether it was his father being murdered or the press making accusations about his gambling addictions, he stayed true to himself and did everything with intent.

When he needed to step away from the game and pursue baseball because of the loss of his father, he did. No matter what scenario was thrown at this man, he adapted and made a decision.

Without forward thinking, sitting still leads to stagnation. Michael Jordan was never and will never be stagnant. He is always rising to the occasion and showing up each and every day.

If kids during the pandemic didn’t already have a role model, they do now. This man is legendary and an absolute standard of excellence.

People from all over the world wear MJ’s shoe brand “Air Jordan’s”. His brand represents greatness and makes people feel incredibly elite. After watching The Last Dance, it’s no wonder why he is so iconic and his brand will live on forever.

I want to pass down the great life lessons Michael Jordan has taught me and my battle buddies on our deployment. When we thought that we had been through it all, being overseas and all sacrificing so much, we learned quickly that we have to be really grateful for what we have.

My hope is that if you haven’t seen The Last Dance, that you check it out and give it a chance. There is a lesson to be learned in every single episode.

Michael respects the game of basketball and how much it takes to become the greatest of all time. From a Medium perspective, we must respect the journey and look forward to every challenge thrown at us in order to become the best writers we can be.

Michael had many struggles. Success does not come without struggles.

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email: mendiola1829@gmail.com 08.18.20 ?

Chicago, IL

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