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  • Writer's pictureAubree Watson

You have to be ODD to be number ONE.

I watched “The Last Dance” just like the rest of the world did during the quarantine. I was getting my sports fix, but even more so I love that kind of stuff. I love sports documentaries, the more in depth the better. The extended docuseries was practically speaking my love language. I want to know all the factors that the viewing public knew nothing about because as an athlete that has been on some really successful teams, I know there is always secret details that no one but those that lived it know about.

Not mention it’s about Michael Jordan and the Bulls Dynasty. I’ll be honest, I’m not some huge basketball fan or anything, but being a ‘90s baby I grew up knowing about Michael Jordan and the Bulls. I couldn’t tell you really anything besides I knew he was great and that they were really good, so I LOVED the raw footage, the old interviews, new footage addressing the old stuff, and intersecting story lines. It was incredible and I truly learned so much about the players’ stories. Another thing I really love—learning people’s stories. Why do they do what they do? What motivates them? What makes them tick?

Getting the inside look at Michael Jordan’s past AND present has been so interesting. I had heard that he thought people might not like him as much after watching these episodes. And I can see why he would have that concern. The guy was intense. He had extremely high standards and he had no problem holding his teammates to them. Because he held himself to an even higher standard. He knew how to push their buttons to get the most of out them, he even knew how to push his own buttons! But it was always rooted in winning and the common goals of the team.

Knowing myself, I would respect him, his drive, for sure his work ethic, but I don’t know if we would be buds off the court. But that’s okay. I would like to think that yeah, I would probably disagree with how he sometimes treated people, but man the guy wants to win, he expects people to put in what he puts in because what's the point in giving less? I could understand that. I’ve had teammates that had different leadership styles than me, but both of our styles served a purpose for our team and its success. We both were able to challenge teammates and were probably challenged by each other as well. It’s called balance and you can’t have balance without something different on the opposite end.

He was different, to his very core he was different. That’s the very thing that made him great. And to ask or expect him to be anything but that would have been a loss to everyone involved. He knew that and that’s confidence.

Which makes me think about the statement on my site “You have to be odd to be number one,” it started as a cute Dr. Suess quote I saw on Pinterest a few years ago and latched onto because I’ve been number one my whole life and I’m pretty quirky (something I have really come to love about myself) but I didn’t think much of it. Fast forward to me building my website and deciding what I really want to make a statement about. What do I believe in, stand for and want to be known for? I was again drawn to this silly Dr. Suess quote but with different eyes.

As an athlete, of course I want to be number one, of course I want to be successful and if “The Last Dance” has taught me anything it’s that the best truly are just wired a little differently. Yes, I think MJ is the best ever, and this is not the place to debate that, ha! But beyond that MJ allowed himself to be that version of himself. He didn’t make himself small or filter who he was so that others would accept him, he brought them along with him, up to his level. To be number one in terms of success you have to be different. You have to set yourself apart from the rest. You have to be willing to put in more work, sacrifice more, and push the envelope of what is expected.

I’ve also really enjoyed the current footage of MJ being unapologetic about it. He knew what made him special and he didn’t shy away from it. He plowed into what he could be as an athlete and we can do that as people as well. I want to be the number one best version of myself. But to achieve that I need to lean into what makes me different because being a number one ME will always be better than being a second best version of someone else. We each have a unique purpose in life and while it might not always feel important, I promise you it is. But it starts with being confident in yourself. When we can acknowledge and pursue the number one best version of ourselves, we can truly walk in our unique (different/odd) purpose.

As women especially, we can learn a lot from MJ. Don’t make yourself small or hide the things that make you different, that make you unique, that make you who you are. It could be the very thing that will make you great, the very thing that will make you number one in what you do and who you can be. We should always pursue that version of ourselves so that we can fully walk in the purpose that is so unique to us. That’s something I’m passionate about—purpose. Finding and encouraging unique purpose in myself and those around me. You are who you are for a reason, celebrate it, foster it, and walk in it. You have to be ODD to be number ONE. So be YOU!

More to come on that...

P.S. If you haven’t watched “The Last Dance” you really should. It’s pretty special, very well made and a very in depth look at the greatness that took place on the road to building the Bulls’ dynasty. There is some strong adult language though, so please keep that in mind with kids.

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