Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Michael Jordan still wanted and needed to win at everything. In those days, when they still traveled on commercial planes, they sometimes spent their idle time in airport game rooms playing Pac-Man. For a time, Dave Corzine, who always carried a large roll of quarters with him, was considered the Pac-Man champion. In time, however, Jordan bought a Pac-Man game for his home and practiced diligently, bringing his game up until he could beat Corzine.

Richard Dent, the star defensive lineman of the Chicago Bears, became a close friend, and of course Jordan had to compete with him. Dent liked to ride a bike, and Jordan heard him say casually one day that he had just ridden thirty miles. A few weeks later, when Jordan arrived in Hawaii after a trip to Japan, he got up after about two hours of sleep, called Howard White, and said he wanted to go bike riding. How far do you want to ride? asked White. Thirty miles, Jordan answered.

He did not just need to win, he had to win.

From "Playing for Keeps" by David Halberstam