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What can we learn from Michael Jordan?

tbsells

Contributor
Jul 27, 2007
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Ohio
He's the best basketball player I've ever seen but this is not about basketball. Think about the tremendous success he has had in business. Sports superstardom is not synonymous with success in business. Everyone knows of ultra wealthy athletes losing big money in fast food restaurants, car dealerships, etc. What can we learn from his success? I have a few ideas:

1) The power of branding. When I was a high school basketball player in the mid 80's we had to have the new "Air Jordans" from Nike. They cost about double what any other shoe on the market cost, but the whole team had them. We had to. Fast forward 20 years and I'm buying "Air Jordans" from Nike for my 8th grade daughter. Her whole team has them. They have to. THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN HIM PLAY, he's been retired for years. To them he's just another old guy, BUT THEY WANT THE SHOES. Its been more than 20 years and those shoes are still hot. Think of one other product from the 80's thats still hot today. Parachute pants? Cassette tapes? Wham? NOPE! The Jordan brand is tremendously valuable. Its logo is instantly recognizable around the world and any product with it is desirable. It seems to me that there is a lesson here. It is tremendously important to market your business with a consistent message and a consistent recognizable logo. We can all do this- I can in my real estate business, Yves can with her cabins, Russ with his B&B, etc. RK was a master of this with his "Rich Dad" series. Those purple books literally jumped off the shelf at you. One of the foundations of any franchise is consistent marketing with a consistent recognizable logo. I think alot of small business people do not think of the importance of this in their marketing. I am guilty of this. I looked online and various graphic design firms will do all the work very inexpensively.

2) The power of hard work. This one is not so fun. If you ever saw MJ play it was easy to see he wanted it more and worked harder to get it than anyone. He didn't get to the top the easy way. We won't either.

Any other ideas on what we can learn from celebrity businesspeople?
 

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Last edited:

Yankees338

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Jul 24, 2007
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He's the best basketball player I've ever seen but this is not about basketball. Think about the tremendous success he has had in business. Sports superstardom is not synonymous with success in business. Everyone knows of ultra wealthy athletes losing big money in fast food restaurants, car dealerships, etc. What can we learn from his success? I have a few ideas:

1) The power of branding. When I was a high school basketball player in the mid 80's we had to have the new "Air Jordans" from Nike. They cost about double what any other shoe on the market cost, but the whole team had them. We had to. Fast forward 20 years and I'm buying "Air Jordans" from Nike for my 8th grade daughter. Her whole team has them. They have to. THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN HIM PLAY, he's been retired for years. To them he's just another old guy, BUT THEY WANT THE SHOES. Its been more than 20 years and those shoes are still hot. Think of one other product from the 80's thats still hot today. Parachute pants? Cassette tapes? Wham? NOPE! The Jordan brand is tremendously valuable. Its logo is instantly recognizable around the world and any product with it is desirable. It seems to me that there is a lesson here. It is tremendously important to market your business with a consistent message and a consistent recognizable logo. We can all do this- I can in my real estate business, Yves can with her cabins, Russ with his B&B, etc. RK was a master of this with his "Rich Dad" series. Those purple books literally jumped off the shelf at you. One of the foundations of any franchise is consistent marketing with a consistent recognizable logo. I think alot of small business people do not think of the importance of this in their marketing. I am guilty of this. I looked online and various graphic design firms will do all the work very inexpensively.

2) The power of hard work. This one is not so fun. If you ever saw MJ play it was easy to see he wanted it more and worked harder to get it than anyone. He didn't get to the top the easy way. We won't either.

Any other ideas on what we can learn from celebrity businesspeople?
Great post!!! Rep+++

Anyway, excellent points made. The power of hard work is really amazing. A great idea can only get you so far. It's the amount of hard work and dedication you put in that separates the good from the great.

Sports are a great example of this. Just today, I had a basketball game. Since it's the town recreation program, I'm easily the best player on my team, but there are a couple other players in the league who are very similarly talented. However, that talent can only take you so far. If I really want to win, I know I can't just wait for things to come to me; I have to hustle for the loose balls, fight for rebounds, and do all the little extra things that might not look as pretty as a nice jumper or layup, but they're just things that I have to do to succeed.

It never hurts to try a little harder. But it's always worth it.
 

thecoach

Contributor
Aug 29, 2007
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Regina, SK, Canada
Great post!

To add to your second point about hard work, let's not forget that Michael Jordan was also cut from his high school basketball team when he was younger. I know a lot of kids that get cut from a team and quit the sport all together...be he turned it into motivation and ended up to be one of the best of all time. He's said many times that whenever he was working out and got tired and wanted to stop, he would close his eyes and see that final team list in the locker room without his name on it and that kept him going a little longer. He's turned failure into extreme success.

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, I've lost almost 300 games, 26 times I've been trusted with the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed." - Micheal Jordan (Nike Air Jordan commerial)
 

Jakko

Contributor
Sep 2, 2007
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I have friends who have been collecting jordans for 4 or 5 years since they've been in highschool. They are graduated now.

Some of them camp out the day before a new jordan shoe comes out at a store like footlocker and purchase a few pairs so that they can keep one for themselves and resell the others on ebay for huge $$$.

You can see that Michael Jordan is not the only NBA player that has his own brand of shoes. There are other players like Iverson, Shaq, etc. who got their own brand too. But nobody seems to pay attention to theirs as much as the air jordans.

Maybe it's because Jordan is a legend and his jumpman logo is just frigging awesome!
 
OP
OP
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tbsells

Contributor
Jul 27, 2007
304
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Ohio
Great post coach! I love the quote at the end. I've been preaching that to my oldest daughter this basketball season. For some reason she's afraid to miss. I keep telling her that nobody keeps track of the misses but you. I saw the Jordan commercial with the quote and was shocked, I don't ever remember him missing a potential game winner. Do you? I do remember the heroics.
 

thecoach

Contributor
Aug 29, 2007
125
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23
Regina, SK, Canada
Great post coach! I love the quote at the end. I've been preaching that to my oldest daughter this basketball season. For some reason she's afraid to miss. I keep telling her that nobody keeps track of the misses but you. I saw the Jordan commercial with the quote and was shocked, I don't ever remember him missing a potential game winner. Do you? I do remember the heroics.
Most don't remember them...but I wasn't a big basketball fan...hahah. You can find that commerical on youtube...just search Micheal Jordan failure and it pops up.

Here's a few other 'failures'

Babe Ruth....One of the most regognizable and listed on many greatest athletes all time held several records for home runs for decades, but guess what his actual career batting average was? .342 That means that one of the greatest athletes of all time failed roughly 66% of the time.

Reggie Jackson, best know for his record setting 5 home runs in one World Series in the 1977 with the Yankees and was nicknamed Mr. October from then on and was an All-Star in 12 of his 21 seasons that he played. Does anyone know what other record he still holds? Most career strikouts...2,597. No one remembers that for every homerun he hit, he struck out 5 times to get there...everyone just remembers the homeruns.

Baseball is an easy sport to show that failure = success becuase they keep track of a lot of failure stats like errors, strikouts, outs, etc.

The Major League career batting average record (# of hits per at-bat) was set by Ty Cobb. He played his last game in 1928, so this record is roughly 80 years old and no one has even challenged it since the 60s. The record is at .366. The most successfull career hitter in baseball history failed 64% of the time.

Actually, speaking of Ty Cobb, and the original question relating to celebs who are successful with money off the field...Ty Cobb retired very rich and successful. Outside of baseball he had a hobby of investing money. At one point Cobb was a majority stockholder in a tiny little company that started in Georgia where he was from....This little company was called Coca-Cola Corporation. He was a majority stakeholder in several other companies throughout his time. He also owned a few businesses as well. At the time of his death in 1961 his investment portfolio alone was estimated at almost $12 million. Not bad for a guy whose J.O.B. only paid him anywhere from $2400-$5,000 a year!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Jul 23, 2007
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I can't iterate the importance of "branding" -- thx TbSells for the great example and write up. Speed+
 

Holyhabanero

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Jan 14, 2008
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Good points tbsells. I loved that commercial and have shown it to my kids. One other fact about Jordan that really stands out in my mind (and give me inspiration) is that he was cut from his High School Basketball team. From www.23jordan.com:

Jordan played basketball for Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. Ironically, Jordan was cut from the varsity team as a sophomore. Instead of giving up after failing to make the team, Jordan used it to spur himself to greater achievements, practicing hour after hour on the court. "Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I'd close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it," Jordan said, "and that usually got me going again." He eventually made the team and led it to the state championship.
 

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