Kenny Smith Reveals Michael Jordan’s Unique Reluctance Among NBA Legends

Many NBA stars reach a certain level of success and consider themselves great. While there is nothing wrong about it, especially if the talent and accolades are undeniable, Michael Jordan’s mindset was different.

According to his former University of North Carolina teammate Kenny Smith, what sets MJ apart from other basketball legends is his refusal to embrace greatness, let alone the GOAT status. Instead, Jordan constantly pushed himself to be better and often downplayed his accomplishments.

“I think his enthusiasm and love of the game, and you can even see in an interview, his reluctancy to accept greatness, but to be great is what makes him Michael Jordan,” Smith once said.

Jordan’s humility came from Coach Dean

Smith was one of the few people who witnessed Jordan’s compelling journey from a college standout at UNC to the greatest player in the NBA. That said, “The Jet” holds a firm belief that Michael’s unbelievable mix of competitiveness and humility can be attributed to the influence of their college basketball coach, the legendary Dean Smith.


Kenny pointed out that Coach Smith instilled in his players the importance of staying competitive yet humble, working hard, and always striving to be the best version of themselves, both on and off the court. In Kenny’s eyes, MJ never failed to uphold all of those traits, regardless of how many championships and honors he had achieved.

“So, I really think all of that competitive nature comes from Coach Smith,” Kenny added. “And the way he kind of psychologically got us to go at each other, as well as the other team, and keep us so sharp. So all of those things that I hear Michael say that he does, you got that from Coach Smith. You didn’t even think of these things. You weren’t that competitive. You were just like everyone else, but Coach Smith kind of put the seed in for him.”


MJ would never consider himself the GOAT

Through his consistent display of raw talent, passion for winning, and dominance, Jordan is unsurprisingly considered the GOAT. However, “His Airness” believed that greatness was not just about proving that he was the best player in the world. For MJ, it only meant that he was capable of constantly challenging himself, pushing his limits, and never becoming complacent.

In conclusion, in addition to the fact that there are different eras in the NBA, this mentality is also the reason why Jordan never anointed himself as the rightful GOAT.

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