Magic Johnson – Enjoy your work. Over a 10-year period, Magic's Lakers' team appeared in eight NBA Championships, winning five. Best known for his no-look passes and charismatic style of play, what some remember most about him was how he smiled, grinning ear to ear, during the game. People often refer to work as a “four-letter word,” as if it’s a bad thing. While we all have good and bad days, Magic reminds us all to enjoy what you do for a living.
Michael Jordan – Make other people better. Jordan is the widely recognized as the greatest basketball player in the history of the game. There are probably numerous reasons for his success. His outstanding work ethic. His intense desire to compete. His dedication to the game. But the lesson we ca learn from Michael's' reign is the fact that he recognized that in order to win it wasn’t enough to be the best player on the court. In order to win, he needed to make his teammates better. And that’s true leadership.
Jerry Rice – Practice like you play. Like other legends, Jerry Rice is widely seen as the greatest player at his position, and, according to some, the greatest football player of all time. Jerry’s trademark quality was his unbelievable work ethic. In practice, other players would catch passes and jog back to their position. Not Jerry. He sprinted all the way into the end zone. If you want to be the best of the best, practice like you play.
Wayne Gretzky – Be forward thinking. Wayne Gretzky transcended his sport. He was named the MVP of the National Hockey League the first eight years he played in the league. As if that isn’t evidence of dominating a sport, he still owns 60 NHL records. Gretzky credits his father for much of his success, including this quotable nugget for all leaders: “Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been.”
Jackie Robinson – Change history. Robinson's achievements transcend the mere world of sports. In 1947, a full 20 years before the US Supreme Court would recognize the validity of inter-racial marriages, Jackie Robinson became the first person of color to play in the all-white major league baseball. As depicted in many books and movies, he withstood blatant and repeated verbal assaults from fans and players alike. With obvious awareness for the role he was playing in literally changing American history, he withstood all the negativity and likely contributed more to civil rights than any athlete in history.
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