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Michael Jordan's quotes are all-time classics.
AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser, File

Michael Jordan loved bulletin board material. He would take something, anything, to push himself.

It was evidenced in “The Last Dance” when Washington Bullets guard LeBradford Smith scored 37 points in the game of his life against the Chicago Bulls. Even though the Bullets lost 104-99, Smith allegedly said “Nice game, Mike” after the final buzzer.

That didn’t sit well with MJ.

The next night, in the second part of a back-to-back trip, the Bulls traveled to Washington D.C. Jordan dropped 36 points in the first half as payback. He finished with 47 and Chicago won 126-101.

That LeBradford slight? Turns out it was fabricated by Jordan to give himself extra motivation.

Widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina. MJ was a winner at every level. He won a national championship at UNC, he won multiple dunk contests, he tore through the playoffs in the ’90s to capture six NBA championships and he won two Olympic gold medals.

Jordan’s hyper-competitive nature can be traced back to being cut from the Laney High School varsity basketball team as a sophomore. It was at that turning point where he decided there is no other option other than giving your all. He took this core belief and dialed it up to an 11.

He has several motivational quotes that exemplify this creed.

25 Best Michael Jordan Quotes

Michael Jordan on Championships

Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson raise trophies on the court.
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“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Michael Jordan on Hard Work

Michael Jordan smiles and claps in the background on a basketball court
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“Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.”

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Michael Jordan on Fundamentals

Michael Jordan holds the basketball away from a defender during a game.
Richard Mackson /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

“The minute you get away from fundamentals — whether it’s proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation — the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”

Michael Jordan on Fear of Failure

Michael Jordan holds his hands on his hips and frowns during a game
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“I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot…when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.”

Michael Jordan on Competitiveness

Michael Jordan shrugs his shoulders at an official during a game
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“I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.”

Michael Jordan on Making the Best of Things

Michael Jordan smiles while standing next to Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz
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“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”

Michael Jordan on Work Ethic

Michael Jordan smiles while he stretches on the floor of a gym
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“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

Michael Jordan on Being an Example

A fan holds up a Michael Jordan sign during a game
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“I hope the millions of people I’ve touched have the optimism and desire to share their goals and hard work and perseverance with a positive attitude.”

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Michael Jordan on Sitting Out

Michael Jordan sits on the bench next to two teammates. All are looking up
VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images

RELATED: Michael Jordan’s Flu Game: What Actually Caused His Sickness?

“My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn’t stand the sideline.”

Michael Jordan on Effort

Michael Jordan reaches for a ball being grabbed by an opponent
VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images

“Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.”

Michael Jordan on Lack of Effort

Michael Jordan points near the camera during a game
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

“Failure is acceptable. But not trying is a whole different ball park.”

Michael Jordan on Pleasing Everyone

Michael Jordon high-fives the crowd
John Harrelson/Getty Images

“It’s heavy duty to try to do everything and please everybody. My job was to go out there and play the game of basketball as best I can. People may not agree with that. I can’t live with what everyone’s impression of what I should or what I shouldn’t do.”

Michael Jordan on Enjoying Life

michael jordan smokes a cigar while wearing sunglasses and a cowboy hat
J.D. Cuban /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

“Enjoy every minute of life. Never second-guess life.”

Michael Jordan on Individual Goals

Michael Jordan holds up the Most Valuable Player trophy
JIM CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

“The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can’t let yourself be beat because of lack of effort.”

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Michael Jordan on Golf

michael jordan swings a golf club
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“For a competitive junkie like me, golf is a great solution because it smacks you in the face every time you think you’ve accomplished something. That to me has taken over a lot of the energy and competitiveness for basketball.”

Michael Jordan on Being a Role Model

 Fans of Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls hold up signs during a game
Jonathan Daniel/Allsport via Getty Images

“I never thought a role model should be negative.”

Michael Jordan on Moving On From Basketball

michael jordan stands in the middle of a crowd during his retirement ceremony
John Biever /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

“When I will lose the sense of motivation and the sense to prove something as a basketball player, it’s time for me to move away from the game.”

Michael Jordan on the Expectations of Others

michael jordan dressed in a tuxedo with a basketball under one arm as he poses with Chevrolet Suburban automobile
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

“If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”

Michael Jordan on Limits

a player falls behind michael jordan, who is on the basketball floor
Bill Brett/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”

Michael Jordan on Connecting Generations

michael jordan speaks to kobe bryant during a game
VINCENT LAFORET/AFP via Getty Images

“I want to be the bridge to the next generation.”

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Michael Jordan on the Perfect Basketball Player

lebron james and michael jordan shake hands
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“There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don’t believe there is only one greatest player either.”

Michael Jordan on Greatness

Michael Jordan soars for the dunk as Utah Jazz Karl Malone watches
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“I believe greatness is an evolutionary process that changes and evolves era to era.”

Michael Jordan on Achievement

michael jordan closes his eyes and rests his head against a trophy
Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

Michael Jordan on Failure

michael jordan takes off his jacket
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“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

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Michael Jordan on Being True to the Game

michael jordan smiles while giving a speech
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

“Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That’s truly about the game, and in some ways that’s about life too.”

MORE: Michael Jordan’s Net Worth Reminds Us Why He’s Still the Greatest

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Joe Grobeck About the author:
Joe is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and lives in Austin, Texas. He believes Ndaumkong Suh should've won the 2009 Heisman and is an avid basketball fan.
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