This Will Never Happen Again

“I went to my room and I closed the door and cried,” Michael Jordan said. “For a while I couldn’t stop. Even though there was no one else home at the time, I kept the door shut. It was important to me that no one else hear me or see me.”

In a sense, Jordan owns the world. To me, though, perhaps the most remarkable part of the Jordan story is the fact that, as a sophomore in high school, he was cut from his school’s basketball team. I kept wondering about how it affected him at the time it happened. He wanted to play with the others, and was told that he wasn’t good enough.

One evening, as we sat and talked before a Bulls game, he spoke about it. I wasn’t surprised that Jordan remembered every detail.

“For about two weeks, every boy who had tried out for the basketball team knew what day the cut list was going to go up,” Jordan said. “We knew that it was going to be posted in the gym in the morning.

“So that morning we all went in there and the list was up. I had a friend, and we went in to look at the list together.

“We stood there and looked for our names. If your name was on the list, you were still on the team. If your name wasn’t on the list, you were cut. His name was on the list. He made it. Mine wasn’t on the list.

“I looked and looked for my name,” he said. “It was almost as if I thought that if I didn’t stop looking, it would be there.”

Jordan, as if envisioning the list anew, said: “It’s alphabetical. I looked at the H’s and the I’s and the K’s, and I wasn’t there, and I went back up and started over again. But I wasn’t there.

“I went through the day numb. I sat through my classes. I had to wait until after school to go home. That’s when I hurried to my house and I closed the door of my room and I cried so hard. It was all I wanted — to play on that team.

“My mother was at work, so I waited until she got home, and then I told her. She knew before I said anything that something was wrong, and I told her I had been cut from the team. When you tell your mom something like that the tears start again, and the two of you have an after-cry together.”

At the end of that basketball season, Jordan said, he asked the coach if he could ride the bus with the team to the district tournament. Just to watch the other boys play.

“The coach told me no.” Jordan said. “But I asked again, and he said I could come. But when we got to the gym, he said he didn’t know if I could go in. He told me that the only way I could go in was to carry the players’ uniforms. So that’s what I did. I waked into the building carrying the uniforms for the players who had made the team. What made me feel the worst about that was that my parents had come to watch the tournament, and when they saw me walking in carrying the uniforms, they thought I was being given the chance to play.

“That’s what hurt me. They thought I was being given a chance.”

He is very likely the best basketball player who ever lived. If you ever wondered why he continues to work so hard, the answer may lie in this story. It must be so rare for a professional athlete to have once been cut from a high school team. The men who make it to the pros have always been the best on every playground, the best in every class, the best in every school.

“It’s OK, though,” Jordan said. “It’s probably good that it happened.”


“I think so,” he said. “It was good because it made me know what disappointment felt like,” he said. “And I knew that I didn’t want to have that feeling ever again.”

~ Bob Green – Chicago Tribute (An Interview With Michael Jordan)

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  • countingsheepstudio
    April 16, 2013 at 8:03 am

    You WILL get there Evan, of that I have no doubt. Thank-you for sharing this great story from an amazing athlete, very poignant and appropriate for me right now.

  • Benny
    April 16, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I have never seen that Michael Jordan video before, powerful stuff. I really like what you’re doing here Evan. Persistance and perseverance with hard work are the tools everyone needs to be legendary.

    Love your blog.

  • LaLindaArtStudio
    April 16, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Great post! Just tell me I can’t, and I will show you I can!

  • awattykins
    April 16, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I like you Evan.
    You’ve got it. You’ve got what it takes to inspire other people.
    I hope I can accomplish at the least what you have in my life.
    But I know I’ll see you soon on all stages.

    Thanks for liking my blog post. That brought me to your blog.
    And I thoroughly enjoy reading.

    Thanks again and have hope!

  • thesanctuaryofmyheart
    April 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

  • Carey D. Henderson
    April 16, 2013 at 8:41 am

    This was so good! Not only is it a nice tribute to probably the greatest athlete of all time, but its also a great reminder on not quitting, hanging in there & working hard will always outlast defeat! Great job! 🙂

  • spcbrass
    April 16, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I’ve been in a similar situation in my life. Although I never achieved the success of fame of Michael Jordan I know the pain he is going through. Getting cut from the varsity track team to JV just before state finals as a freshman. It hurt, but I skipped the JV meet to go watch and cheer on the varsity team. I would go on to captain the team the next 3 years and win multiple state championships.

    The same thing happened to me a few years later when auditioning for one of the most successful drum & bugle corps in the country. I was denied two years in a row. I eventually helped lead them to a World Championship title.

    Even later in life as people tell me I am not good enough to do things I make it a point to go out and prove everyone wrong. People who tell me that I can’t or I won’t only add fuel to my fire. A man filled with sheer will and determination can accomplish anything once he has the necessary skills.

  • Gaseimasha
    April 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Thank you for posting this.

  • kerrichronicles
    April 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Awesome post and very encouraging. It just goes to show that there is good in every bad situation and we need to seek it – we need to hold our heads up high and we need to find it!

  • Curious Man
    April 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Reblogged this on A journey to a better future.

  • rachelibers
    April 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Positively Rachel and commented:
    This is a beautiful story. This makes me ache for Jordan, because we’ve all been there. We’ve all had to sit on the side and realize that we weren’t given a chance to be our best.
    It’s what we do after that counts.

  • conditionedexistence
    April 16, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Reblogged this on conditionedexistence and commented:
    “I hate losing more than I like winning.” – Evan Sanders.
    How do you know if you can’t do something if you’ve never tried? What’s the worse that can happen? You fail? Oh well, try again or try something else. Failing at something does not mean your life ends. Quitting does though. Never give up.

  • desi83
    April 16, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Very inspiring as always-it’s so easy to give up and live in mediocrity, but it certainly isn’t as satisfying as finally getting where you are meant to be.

  • juk
    April 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Reblogged this on life. unlimited..

  • amandajfrench
    April 16, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks Evan. As always your words come at just the right time – when I need to hear that piece of particular advice. I’m going through some very scary changes at the moment & whilst they are scary they are exciting too but sometimes you need to have that “chin up young person’ talk to help you keep the faith. You’re blog is great by the way. I try read every entry. You are always so inspiring.

  • midisparks
    April 17, 2013 at 3:56 am

    Reblogged this on Creative Sparks and commented:
    notice how the expressions progress from fear, insecurity to confidence, determination. it is a brilliant short video. nice inspiration for a cloudy Wednesday morning! peace!

  • cindylou
    April 17, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Encouraging words for a time when encouragement is what is needed. Thank you.

  • jocellita
    April 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I needed this. Thank you.

  • Amber Jordana
    April 18, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I loved each second of reading this, your quote at the end was the cherry on top I wish you lots of success !

  • Shelly Aspenson
    April 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    this rocks. absolutely =)

  • anazine
    April 20, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Reblogged this on AraBelle!.