I remembered this commercial slightly differently. Nice that there's a video record. As Warner Wolf used to say, and probably still does somewhere: "Let's go to the videotape!"
Here's the set up:
It's summer of '93. Michael Jordan has just led the Chicago Bulls to their third straight NBA championship, astutely dishing off to an open Steve Kerr, who whooshes the winning shot in Game 6 vs Barkley's Suns.
Jordan is the best. He shoots tons, plays 48 minutes of out-of-his-head defense--every game, feeds assists. "Da Bulls, Da Bulls, Da Best!" the fight song goes.
But Jordan always knew a lot of hard work went into becoming "the best."
That's why we see Jordan, all alone, practicing that most basic of basketball plays, the foul shot. Again, and again, and again.
Jordan can imagine failure, being "just a basketball player" (Hey kids! Note embedded quote!), so he takes arms against it and that. Deliberately.
Because at the end of the game, 80% of the time, foul shooting makes the difference.
His thesis is supported by research that shows that greatness is within reach, but getting there won't be much fun.
It takes what researcher K. Anders Ericsson of Florida State University calls "deliberate practice," whose key components -- designed specifically to improve performance, easily repeatable, provides an ongoing feedback loop, demanding mentally, and ain't much fun -- are quite easy to understand.
But there is that bottom line on the road to greatness: It ain't all grins and giggles.
But the upside is huge, says Colvin, senior editor in chief at Fortune where this excerpt was published in October, 2006:
"Maybe we can't expect most people to achieve greatness. It's just too demanding. But the striking, liberating news is that greatness isn't reserved for a preordained few. It is available to you and to everyone."
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