“If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.”
Mr. Jordan Plays Baseball
In 1991, the Chicago Bulls won their first NBA championship featuring eight year veteran Michael Jordan. Then they won two more. Winning three championships in a row is a rare feat, especially with a 82 game regular season and the best-of-seven playoff format.
Many say that Mr. Jordan was the greatest of all time. The announcers for the games said his name with relish: Pippen to Grant back to Pippen to … Michael Jordan! He always got the full name treatment. Man, he was a joy to watch play on the basketball court.
After the first “three-peat” (he’d return and do it again), Mr. Jordan retired from basketball; shocking the world. Then he did an astonishing thing, he joined a minor league baseball team. He said that he was following his, recently murdered, father’s dream of him being a major league baseball player.
He never made it to the majors.
After two seasons in the minors, he quit baseball mid-season because they were going on strike, I believe. And then returned to basketball by saying “I’m back”.
What nags at me is that Mr. Jordan couldn’t get into the majors. His talent, intellect, speed, quickness, charisma and atheletic abilities are all documented; a fantastic athelete. He was a minor league baseball player who could not get into the majors.
He was average.
Might I ask, how far from greatness am I? Or you? We’ve chosen our careers and professions because we love them or are good at them and we excel as far as we can in our lifetimes. What if we had chosen just a little bit differently? Could I have been great? The greatest of all time?
How many of us have chosen baseball?
On one level, I think that a college education is great because typical requirements make the student sample a very wide variety of courses. The chance of finding your brilliance or greatness is higher in college than if you took that first job out of high school and stayed with it.
On another level, I wonder if it is our skills. Lets say that I’m a used-car salesman and pretty good. I can sell and convince and charm my victims into buying a car. What if those same skills would have made me a great statesman or politician?
I would hope that in one’s life that anyone would extend themselves. Like a poet who tries to write lyrics or a journalist who tries teaching or any variation that you can imagine in your own life. That question of “what if” is part of exploring life, I hope that it doesn’t nag at you!
Mr. Jordan is the proof. Greatness, even the greatest of all time, might be a realignment of the cannon to a new target.