Michael Jordan is considered by many as the greatest basketball player of all time. It is hard to argue with his resume. A perfect 6-0 NBA Finals record, five time NBA MVP, six time NBA Finals MVP, fourteen time All-Star, ten time scoring champion, eleven time all NBA, nine time all defense, 1984 rookie of the year, three time All-star game MVP, 1987 defensive player of the year, and a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame. The list of accolades could continue. We haven’t even mentioned his global shoe brand and influence.
He means more to the city of Chicago then any other athlete that has graced this town and not many athletes have come close. But Tony La Russa believes there is someone on his squad that shares some similar qualities to the six six guard from North Carolina. His shortstop Tim Anderson.
La Russa Sees Jordan-Like Fuel In TA
“I hate to do this to him” the White Sox manger prefaced. But when talking about the King of swag Tim Anderson he decided to do it anyway.
“I had the great pleasure, when I was in Chicago earlier to watch the Bulls play and practice. And that’s what Michael had his whole career, and it carried over to his players, too. That’s the way Tim is, he’s committed every day. And it’s fun”
These comments came after Tim Anderson near single handedly lead the White Sox to victory in a 7-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday. He launched a grand slam and made some dazzling plays at shortstop. Much like Jordan used to carry the Bulls to victory during the late 80s and 1990s with explosive offense performances.
Anderson’s grand slam off of Triston McKenzie ignited the White Sox. This is nothing new however. Time after time he has led off the game with a home run or some sort of hit to start a rally. In just a few short seasons Anderson has not only grown into the face of this franchise but one of the faces in the MLB as well. He was a batting champion in 2019 and an MVP candidate in 2020. In 2021 he is picking up right where he left off with a .293 batting average and four home runs in the month of April.
TIM ANDERSON CHANGES THE GAME WITH ONE SWING. GRAND SLAM. pic.twitter.com/avDZ4xHsGY
— White Sox Talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) May 1, 2021
On the surface there are some similarities to Micheal Jordan and Tim Anderson. Both bring crowds to their feet, Jordan with his high flying dunks and Anderson with his flips. Like Michael Jordan, Tim Anderson was a great basketball player in high school. He was all-state in Alabama before opting to go the baseball route in college. Anderson is also a great athlete on a Jerry Reinsdorf owned team.
But La Russa did not draw the comparison for these reasons. It was for his presence on and off the field and how it rubbed off on his teammates.
A Shared Competitive Drive
“He’s the same every stinking, wonderful day.” La Russa said. “He brings effort, he brings a commitment to the practices, to the competition, and he does it because he enjoys competition.”
Michael Jordan’s competitive drive is what stood him apart from everyone else. For him competition was an addiction. This has been well documented. Over the summer fans saw first hand while watching “The Last Dance” about what went on between games. The practices were intense and there was no days off. He pushed his teammates to be better by any means necessary, even if it meant punching them on occasion. Just ask Will Perdue and Steve Kerr. It was nothing personal his competitiveness just got the best of him.
While Tim Anderson is not going around belting teammates his ultimate goal is the same as MJ’s. Push his teammates to be better.
“I haven’t seen him have one day yet where he’s not the same inspired kind of ‘let’s go make something happen’ person and player. La Russa continued “I’m going to take bets between now and October he’ll be that way every day. He’s got that gear, man. Actually, it’s a commitment.”
Tim Anderson has gotten better each year. But he is not planning on stopping any time soon. While the complaints are nice, guys like Michael Jordan have provided him with the roadmap to success.
“I’m defining sold out to the game,” Anderson said. “I’m going to do it the right way and give 1,000 percent. Guys like Michael Jordan and LeBron, as well, they give me the blueprint to be the best. Those are guys I look up to…I practice like it. I think like it. And confidence is always at an all-time high. When I step on that field, I know I’m the best, I believe I’m the best. It’s just a matter of continuing to work.”
He still has a long way to go to be on the same level as Jordan. But with his drive he has all the qualities to lead the White Sox to a World Series title. And that would be another step in the right direction.