An Amazing Icon
Have you seen the recent mini-docu series that has captured hearts and attention all across the nation? Yes, I am referring to the ESPN special, covering one of the most–if not the most iconic athlete ever–Michael Jordan, and his Last Dance on the basketball court. If you have not been keeping up with it on Sunday nights, please, please, please GO WATCH IT! Now for the non-sports fans out there, before you brush this blog aside and think that you’ll check back for another post on Wednesday (which for the record is going to be one of my absolute favorite recipes you won’t want to miss), I want to help you see the connection that exists between you and MJ. that’s right, YOU have something in common with Michael Jordan. Legacy.
As I watched the final episode of The Last Dance, I couldn’t help but feel motivated, excited, and empowered. I don’t think it is possible to watch someone like Michael Jordan chase a dream and leave a legacy and not want more for your life. Regardless of who you are, or where you come from, you have the ability to leave a legacy.
More often than not, when the topic of legacy is brought up, it is related to the death of a loved one. “They left an amazing legacy.” While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, I want to challenge your way of thinking to shift from something that is a “one day” realization when you are gone, to a seasonal mindset as you go through life now.
Michael’s legacy didn’t end after his 1998 NBA season. The Last Dance was the end of that chapter of his career, but he continues to build upon that foundation that was set as he transitions through new seasons of opportunity. In true Michael Jordan fashion, all of his proceeds from the documentary are going to be donated to charities; just one more way he continues to build on his legacy. In an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America in April, Jordan shared about his college years, and the famous buzzer beater that opened a door that he blazed through.
“Up until that point no one knew who I was. I was a college kid….Outside the university, I was just known as Mike Jordan. When I hit that shot, my whole name became Michael Jordan. It resonated with a lot of people outside of UNC. I just started piling on that name itself from the successes I endured throughout the rest of my career. It wasn’t about Mike. It was more about Michael.” – MJ
Michael Jordan single handedly owned his personal brand and came to be known as an icon throughout the entire world without a digital footprint. Think about that: one of the biggest brands in sports came to be when the first CD player came out. That’s crazy, but you know why it worked? Because he understood his WHY. He actualized his dreams, stayed present in each moment, and knew that it was so much bigger than himself. He brought it all to life every single day without the help of social media.
One of the reasons that I chase my own dreams harder than I ever could have imagined, has nothing to do with any amount of money, notoriety, or status. It’s because I want to provide an example to those who don’t believe in themselves. I am so obsessed and passionate about personal branding because it’s powerful. The real value is not found in the vanity metrics or the applause. The real value is in the impact.
We may not come to be known as the greatest basketball player of all time (if I’m being honest, there is a high probability you won’t), or win six NBA titles, or build an iconic basketball brand, BUT we can still leave a legacy that has the power to impact others. If we’re not, then what are we really doing here? What is your why, and what do you want your legacy to be? If you’ve never taken time to think about this before–or maybe it’s just been a while since you have–mark some time on your calendar to reflect on your passions and purpose, your gifts and your abilities. How can you combine all of those to increase your impact, add value to others, and leave a legacy? Once you can define these, the next question becomes: what are you waiting for?