Being Great is SERIOUS Business!

by Kenny Eller on October 26, 2010

Prior to entering the financial arena 10 years ago, I interned and worked in the sports department for the local abc affiliate in Orlando, Florida for four and a half years.  This is just one story from my days in TV.

The Chicago Bulls were in town (Orlando/1997) and going through the pregame warm-ups prior to facing off against the Magic.  I was in my usual “TV” seat, second row, one seat from the end, closest to the goal, on the baseline.

It was a regular season game, but when the Bulls and Jordan were in town, it might as well have been the playoffs.

During my days in television, I always liked to get to the games as early as possible and watch players and their pregame routines.  A lot of players were and are very methodical in what they do as they warm up.  Really it sways to superstitious more than anything.  When certain players would come to town I could tell you then exactly what they were going to do before the game, prior to them even stepping on the court.

On this night I wouldn’t learn a new pre-game routine.  Instead, I would get a glimpse into what it takes to be great.

The Bulls were going through the line, one after the other, in the most pure pregame basketball warm-up…the layup line.  Michael Jordan would get the pass and usually never even take one dribble.  Instead he’d smoothly jog to the basket, as it only took two long strides once he caught the ball, and lay the ball in.

Ron Harper came through the line and put the ball up haphazardly and it rimmed out.  As he ran to get in line behind Jordan on the opposite side of the court, MJ’s face was scolding hot.  He seemed so bothered by his teammate’s lack of focus.

I was amazed by this.

Even I knew that making or missing a lay-up in pre-game drills wouldn’t affect the outcome of the game.

Or would it?

Now some years later, due to my line of business, I’ve had the blessing of being around and having in depth conversations with many entrepreneurs and business leaders.  The one factor that I have picked up on with the great ones is their attention to detail.  Not only are they visionaries, they also capture every aspect of each project with microscopic precision.  They understand that being excellent at all the small pieces will ensure overall greater success…or greatness.

This is exactly what Jordan was doing on that evening in Orlando.

Michael Jordan was a top tier athlete, but the NBA is filled with rare athleticism.  Michael is six feet, six inches tall, but the NBA is overflowing with men that height and taller.

Michael became the greatest because of his attention to detail.  His focus on every aspect, including pregame lay-ups.  His relentless pursuit of excellence at every small part of the big picture that is basketball.

The silhouette of MJ stretched out, flying through the air, hasn’t become a Worldwide symbol for him, brand Jordan, and greatness by accident.

Being Great is SERIOUS business!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Powers October 26, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Wow- great story, Kenny! A reminder that I can (and should) focus harder and pay more attention to the finer details in my work. Thanks for this- a good motivator for the week!


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller October 26, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Thanks Mark! I appreciate it! Glad it helped!!


Donna Cumby October 26, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Loved this post!


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller October 26, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Thanks Donna!!!


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