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Michael Jordan's Little Finger

Friday, May 29, 2020

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"I don't mind getting beaten, but I hate to lose." - Reggie Jackson

Over the past several weeks, ESPN and Netflix have been airing a 10-part documentary titled, “The Last Dance”. The main subject of the series is the Chicago Bulls 1997-1998 season when they were trying to win their sixth NBA championship in seven years.

Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, and Dennis Rodman – all future Hall of Famers – were the linchpins of those great Bulls teams while role players like Horace Grant, Steve Kerr, Bill Cartwright, and Toni Kukoc served as their supporting cast. Running the show was coach Phil Jackson, who used his famous “triangle offense” to get the most out of each player individually and the team as a whole.

Throughout the documentary, the focus was fixed on “His Airness”. Arguably the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time), Jordan was a prolific scorer and a human highlight reel. Much to owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s delight, MJ could also fill an arena with rabid and free-spending fans.

Aside from his otherworldly skills, there was one key element that set Jordan apart from his peers and made him a true basketball legend… and a true Chicago icon. Simply put, he was one of the most competitive players to ever don a uniform and walk onto the hardwood. Just like Reggie Jackson, Jordan hated to lose more than he loved to win.

For an elite athlete, losing is hard to swallow. However, if your opponent simply outplays you on a particular day – despite your best efforts – it is easier to accept. But if losing is the result of you not trying your hardest or performing like you are capable of, well, that’s an entirely different matter. Those type of losses usually result in sleepless nights as you toss and turn, replaying the game over and over in your mind.

Michael Jordan has more athletic ability in his little finger than I do in my entire body. And yet, I have something in common with both him and “Mr. October”. Just like them, I hate to lose more than I like to win. Most of all, I hate suffering a self-inflicted defeat.

The question that I need to ask myself is this: if losing an inconsequential softball or basketball game bothers me that much – especially if I am to blame – shouldn’t I get even more distraught when I screw up spiritually? Don’t get me wrong; I am not advocating self-flagellation. I am simply suggesting that we all make the necessary adjustments so that our next spiritual battle results in a resounding victory.

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Romans 8:37 (NLT)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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