If asked to list the top athletes ever, Michael Jordan is a clear contender… as a basketball player.
However, his time switching from basketball to playing baseball at the top of his career after winning three NBA championships isn’t often discussed. Prompted by the tragic murder of his father (who once hoped he would play baseball rather than basketball) Michael Jordan quit basketball and played baseball in 1994 for a year for the Birmingham Barons, a Minor League Team that fed into the Chicago White Sox and his stats, as an outfielder though not stellar, were competitive, including 3 home runs.
So what, if anything, can be learned from this episode?
- Taking risks breeds success. Jordan was an exceptional athlete, but constantly looked to improve and wasn’t scared of failure. (It’s also telling that after switching to baseball, he went back to basketball and won another 3 championships)
- Just because you’re exceptionally good at something doesn’t make it consistently interesting.
- Skills are at least moderately transferable, Jordan had to work hard to train at baseball but was competitive within the Minor Leagues.