Last night, Villanova beat North Carolina to become NCAA National Champions. Villanova deserves respect and applause for their victory. However, what would Michael Jordan say to the team of his alma mater after such a defeat?
Fittingly, many of M.J.'s top quotes are about losing. And that's where we'll start:
1. "The key to success is failure."
2. "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
3. "Failure makes me work even harder."
4. "I've never been afraid to fail."
5. "I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it is an illusion to me. Failure always made me try harder next time."
6. "The minute you get away from fundamentals--whether its proper technique, work ethic, or mental preparation--the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you're doing."
7. "If you do the work, you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life."
8. "The basketball court for me, during a game, is the most peaceful place I can imagine. On the basketball court, I worry about nothing. When I'm out there, no one can bother me."
9. "When I step onto the court, I don't have to think about anything. If I have a problem off the court, I find that after I play, my mind is clearer and I can come up with a better solution. It's like therapy. It relaxes me and allows me to solve problems."
10. "They don't need a ticket to watch you sitting on a bench. They can go to your house for that."
11. "My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn't stand the sideline."
12. "Heart is what separates the good from the great."
13. "Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again."
14. "Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation."
15. "If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Never quit!"
16. "I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot ... when you think about the consequences, you always think of negative results."
17. "Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion."
18. "You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them."
19. "To be successful, you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate."
20. "In college, I never realized the opportunities available to a pro athlete. I've been given the chance to meet all kinds of people, to travel and expand my financial capabilities, to get ideas and learn about life, to create a world apart from basketball."
21. "I would tell players to relax and never think about what's at stake. Just think about the basketball game. If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you've lost your focus."
22. "Every time I feel tired while I am exercising and training, I close my eyes to see that picture, to see that list with my name. This usually motivates me to work again."
23. "There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren't willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."