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If you could ask Michael Jordan one thing …

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

When he was 16 years old, Frank Ntilikina, then a refugee from Rwanda by way of France and today a point guard for the New York Knicks, got a chance to meet basketball great Michael Jordan.

Ntilikina asked Jordan for the key to his success, and Jordan told the aspiring NBA player the most amazing thing he’d ever heard.

He expected to hear: “Work hard.” He already knew that. The skinny kid from Strasbourg had been invited to play in the Jordan Brand Classic. It was his first visit to America.

Once he realized he was actually going to meet Jordan, he racked his brain for a question. Petrified, he said: “Hello, Michael. Can I ask you, what is the key to all your success?”

Jordan thought about it. Then he replied, “What you have to do is love basketball. You can’t be great unless you really love the game. Once you love basketball more than anyone else in the world, then you’re willing to sacrifice. You’re willing to wake up early. You’re willing to do what it takes to be the best. But first, you have to really love it.”

— Adapted from “Merci, GOAT,” Frank Ntilikina, The Players’ Tribune. 

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