MJ and Dolly

Michael Jordan and Dolly Parton have a lot in common. Bear with me.

Both are among the best ever at what they do, yet both are primarily remembered for something utterly superficial to their greatness.

With Michael Jordanís election into the basketball hall of fame, all the old highlight reel footage of Jordan has returned to the airwaves. Taking off from the foul line, the kiss-the-rim dunk, shooting free throws with his eyes closed, between the leg dribble and jump shot over Larry Bird Ė the incredible showmanship and style that was Air Jordan.

The thing is, and the shame really, is that Jordan is best remembered now for the panache and flair of his game, not the substance of it, and it was the substance, not the sizzle, that made him the greatest player ever. It wasnít dunking or baggy shorts or his tongue hanging out that made Jordan great, it wasnít all the things we see in the highlight reels, it was everything else that is now largely forgotten.

Aside from being a great dunker and the most exciting player in the NBA, Jordan was the best defensive player, a great ball handler, a great passer, fundamentally rock solid and the hardest working player in the NBA. Jordan was a tireless practice player, a cutthroat competitor, a guy who did more to develop his game over the course of his career than any player in NBA history. He became an outstanding shooter, he was a champion, and he was one of the first NBA players to take weight training seriously.

Those aspects were the best aspects of his game. Thatís what we should remember him for. Thatís what made Michael Jordan the greatest ever. Thatís what I remember him for. Unfortunately, most clowns who play pickup basketball or desire to get to the NBA just look at the dunks and style and think thatís how Jordan made it, totally missing the point on how Jordan actually became Jordan.

Imagine how much better the NBA product would be today if the two generations of players influenced by Jordan most closely attempted to mimic his work ethic, competitiveness and desire to continually improve his skills instead of his fashion sense and ability to jam?

We remember Jordan for the things most irrelevant to his greatness while glossing over the aspects of his game that actually made him great.

Just like Dolly Parton.

When you think of Dolly Parton, what do you think of?

Huge chest and platinum blonde wigs.

What a shame.

Fortunately for me, and now fortunately for you, I know a ton about the NBA and maybe even more about country music. Let me educate you. Aside from her unmistakable ďlook,Ē Parton is an incredibly accomplished musician and performer. She can play any of a half dozen instruments with expert skill. She is one of the most important, prolific, and influential songwriters in the history of American music. She is a brilliant singer, live performer and entrepreneur. Those are the things which made Dolly Parton one of the most successful female artists in music history, yet all most people remember about her is her cup size.

Parton, like Jordan, is best known for something that has nothing to do with her greatness. Plenty of women have giant breasts and plenty of basketball players were great dunkers, but there is only one Dolly Parton and there is only one Michael Jordan, and itís a shame most people overlook in them that which made them great.

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