Michael Jordan is one of the most decorated superstars in NBA history. Throughout his career, Jordan won several accolades and was widely acknowledged as one of the best players in the NBA during his time.
But it wasn't the desire for accolades that drove Jordan. It was his desire to be the best. In fact, it was him missing out on certain accolades that would motivate him to perform better than everyone else.
During last year's critically acclaimed 'The Last Dance' documentary, Jordan spoke on many occasions about how other players receiving honors would motivate him to outperform them and show that he was the best player in the league by some distance.
One of the accolades that Jordan missed out on was the 1993 MVP. That title went to Jordan's contemporary Charles Barkley. Barkley helped the Phoenix Suns to the best record in the league.
Jordan felt that he should have been MVP, and made it a point to prove his point to the rest of the league. During the 1993 NBA Finals, Jordan and the Bulls dominated Barkley and the Suns en route to their 1993 NBA Finals. The loss hurt Barkley, so much so that he never wants to speak to MJ about their encounter in the 1993 NBA Finals.
Barkley came forward and said that Michael Jordan was wrong to think that he should have been MVP. Barkley defended him winning MVP, that it has nothing to do with being the best, and is awarded to the best player on the best team in the league.
“No. 1, he didn’t deserve it. We had the best record in the NBA. Michael should know better. There were years he was the best player in the NBA probably three years before he won MVP, but the Bulls team was no good. The MVP has always gone to the best player on the team with the best record. It has nothing to do with best player.”
Jordan and Barkley were very close friends during their stint in the league. But after MJ purchased the Hornets, he made some poor decisions as an executive. Barkley criticized these decisions, which caused a rift in their friendship that has lasted to this day.
Jordan won 6 NBA championships, 6 Finals MVPs, and 5 regular-season MVPs with a Defensive Player Of The Year title in his career. That alone cemented him as one of the best players of all time. But Jordan always wanted more, never satisfied with being one of the best.