Lost almost 300 games, missed more than 9,000 shots, was trusted in taking the game-winning shot twenty-six times, and missed. Kept failing over and over and over again. Although these were moments where his failure conquered his present for Michael Jordan, he did not let it affect him and kept on trying. Not only does he appear as an iconic figure for many people, but he also fulfills the characteristics of being an outlier. Based on what Malcolm Gladwell defined as an outlier, it’s someone who has achieved astonishing success because of the opportunities they took advantage of on with hard work.
The legendary Michael Jordan exemplifies an outlier because he exhibits Gladwell’s identified characteristics of Arbitrary Advantage, 10,000-Hour Rule, and Practical Intelligence.
Initially, while Michael Jordan worked hard, he also was born in the ‘perfect’ time to take advantage of his athletic skills: the great timing for his life’s events helped him meet one of the outlier qualities. Gladwell’s review of timing in birth dates of the hockey players, similar to Jordan’s situation, reveals that “there were nearly five and a half times as many Ontario Junior Hockey League players born in January as were born in November”(Gladwell 22).
Jordan’s birth year (1963) was truly lucky timing and a while later: after being cut off from the varsity Basketball team at Laney High School, Jordan earned a basketball scholarship to go to the University of North Carolina to play for Dean Smith. Due to the fact that he was succeeding in Basketball, he decided to leave college during his junior year to join the NBA, which Michael Jordan had the opportunity to demonstrate his incredible gift with Basketball.
Also, it was said that Jordan had more than just Basketball talent, “but the way [he had] been a leader at school and done well academically”(Smith) which helped obtain his position in the NBA and have Dean Smith as a coach which can qualify to his practical intelligence. Even though his intelligence helped him get a shot in the NBA and get coached by Smith, Jordan would have not been where he is if it weren’t for his losses. If he wouldn’t have been cut off from getting into that varsity Basketball team then he perhaps wouldn’t have been able to get a scholarship from the University of North Carolina and getting a chance into the NBA. Having losses and getting earned a scholarship that later on leads to the opportunity to get into the NBA were movies for his successful career and due to the fact of having a chance and great luck. Michael Jordan is an outlier because of the skills he had and as well the right timing of opportunities that adjust for him. He had a greater advantage over a group of people, therefore, brought out even more advantages.