20 Second Timeout is the place to find the best analysis and commentary about the NBA.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Love of the Game

"Even when I'm old and gray, I won't be able to play it but I'll still love the game."--Michael Jordan

Love is an easy word to throw around and many people use it far too casually.

True love is innocent, pure and deep.

True love is based not on how much you can get but how much you can give.

Michael Jordan loved basketball so much that he had a "Love of the game" clause written into his contract with the Chicago Bulls; that clause stipulated that Jordan could play basketball whenever and wherever he wanted to in the offseason, something that was once taken for granted (back when pro basketball players routinely participated in the Rucker League and other summer leagues) but later was legislated out of existence because teams feared that their high priced players might get hurt.

Jordan fought with the Bulls' management to ensure that he could find full expression for his love of the game, even in games for which he would receive no pay and no glory. Love does not get any more innocent, pure and deep than that.

Jordan later defined his love of basketball very simply, yet very profoundly: "Love is playing every game as if it's your last." Think about that for a moment: how much harder would you try, how much more passion would you display, if you knew that you were doing something you love for the very last time? That is a beautiful approach to take for sport and for life itself.

A performer who truly loves what he is doing is so much more captivating than a performer who is just doing something because he is good at it and/or because he can make money doing it. Bobby Fischer had the same kind of pure love for chess that Michael Jordan has for basketball:

Fischer would play chess any time, any place, with anyone; he studied old, forgotten games because they contained a beauty that others could not see. As Bruce Pandolfini noted, Fischer's love for chess changed the sport forever. It is such a tragedy that the demons that haunted Fischer's mind drove him away from the game and impacted his ability to fully enjoy life.

Labels: , , , ,

posted by David Friedman @ 12:05 AM



Post a Comment

<< Home