Become legendary

Rory Geraghty

Perhaps the best basketball player to ever lace sneakers up is part of a marketing campaign that encourages those two words, creating a feeling of confidence, fear, apprehension and anxiety all at the same time.

Michael Jordan’s illustrious basketball career spanned three decades and included one NCAA championship, one NCAA Player of the Year award, six NBA championships, five NBA Most Valuable Player awards, one NBA Defensive Player of the Year award, one NBA Rookie of the Year award, 14 NBA All-Star Game selections, three NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player awards, 10 NBA regular-season scoring titles and two Olympic gold medals.

He is legendary.

In lieu of Jordan’s incredible list of accomplishments, a single question looms in which we can all personally relate.

How did he become legendary?

In one of the “legendary” commercials, Jordan narrates “Look me in the eye. It’s OK if you’re scared. So am I. But we’re scared for different reasons. I’m scared of what I won’t become – and you’re scared of what I could become. Look at me. I won’t let myself end where I started. I won’t let myself finish where I began. I know what is within me, even if you can’t see it yet. Look me in the eyes. I have something more important than courage. I have patience. I will become what I know I am.”

Kudos to the person who wrote the script for this commercial – combined with thematic music and powerful visuals, it may be the most memorable commercial I’ve ever seen. If you’re not familiar with it, find it on YouTube.

Regardless of brand imaging techniques, the message remains unbelievably enlightening. Even if you’ve never touched a basketball, you can still learn from Jordan’s advice in becoming legendary. The instructions he conveys as part of this ad campaign are timeless as well as versatile.

Jordan had to overcome adversity numerous times in his personal life and basketball career on his path toward greatness. Whether it was overcoming the murder of his father or controlling a tendency to gamble his money irresponsibly, Jordan clearly had to navigate some rough terrain in terms of his route to greatness.

The message Jordan is attempting to convey in the ad campaign is that regardless of what anyone thinks or how long it takes, the path to becoming legendary is attainable, if not inevitable, given the proper motivation.

We cannot all be superstar basketball players. But we can all look in the mirror and make a decision to become legendary in our own way. Being courageous is not enough – you must have the patience to achieve, in addition to the courage to actually accomplish the goal. Do not give yourself a choice. Do not be frightened – only determined.

Becoming legendary is about making progress. Jordan made professional progress by learning how to be a better teammate on the basketball court with the virtues of leadership and enhancing his teammates’ talents. You can become legendary by making personal progress. Become a better student. Become a better friend. Become a better family member. Become more open-minded. Become something.

Become legendary.

Rory Geraghty is a senior media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].