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The God in Youth: Michael Jordan

There were already signs that he had a good deal of talent. Harvest Smith, a classmate and close friend who in those days played basketball with him practically every day, thought he was the best player on their ninth-grade team — he was small, but he was every quick. “You’d see him get a shot off, and you’d wonder how he did it, because he wasn’t that bit,” Smith said, “but it was the quickness. The only question was how big he was going to be — and how far up he would take his skill level.” (来源:英语论坛 http://bbs.englishcn.com)

The summer after ninth grade, Jordan and Smith both went to Pop Herring’s basketball camp. Neither of them had yet come into his body, and almost all of the varsity players, two and sometimes three years older, seemed infinitely stronger at that moment when a year or two in physical development can make all the difference. In Smith’s mind there was no doubt which of the two of them was the better player—it was Michael by far. But on the day the varsity cuts were announced — it was the big day of the year, for they had all known for weeks when the list would be posted — he and Roy Smith had gone to the Laney gym. Smith’s name was on it, Michael’s was not.

It was the worst day of Jordan’s young life. The list was alphabetical, so he focused on where the Js should be, and it wasn’t there, and he kept reading and rereading the list, hoping somehow that he had missed it, or that the alphabetical listing had been done incorrectly. That day he went home by himself and went to his room and cried. Smith understood what was happening — Michael, he knew, never wanted you to see him when he was hurt.

“We knew Michael was good,” Fred Lynch, the Laney assistant coach, said later, “but we wanted him to play more and we thought the jayvee was better for him.” He easily became the best player on the jayvee that year. He simply dominated the play, and he did it not by size but with quickness. There were games in which he would score forty points. He was so good, in fact, that the jayvee games became quite popular. The entire varsity began to come early so they could watch him play in the jayvee games.

Smith noticed that while Jordan had been wildly competitive before he had been cut, after the cut he seemed even more competitive than ever, as if determined that it would never happen again. His coaches noticed it, too. “The first time I ever saw him, I had no idea who Michael Jordan was. I was helping to coach the Laney varsity,” said Ron Coley. “We went over to Goldsboro, which was our big rival, and I entered the gym when the jayvee game was just ending up. There were nine players on the court just coasting, but there was one kid playing his heart out. The way he was playing I thought his team was down one point with two minutes to play. So I looked up at the clock and his team was down twenty points and there was only one minute to play. It was Michael, and I quickly learned he was always like that.”

Between the time he was cut and the start of basketball in his junior year, Jordan grew about four inches. The speed had always been there, and now he was stronger, and he could dunk .His hands had gotten much bigger, Smith noticed. He was as driven as ever, the hardest-working player on the team in practice. If he thought that his teammates were not working hard enough, he would get on them himself, and on occasion he pushed the coaches to get on them. Suddenly Laney High had the beginning of a very good basketball team, and its rising star was Michael Jordan.

 

迈克尔的天赋早已有所显露。他的一位同班同学和亲密伙伴维斯特·史密斯,当时基本每天都和他一起打篮球,并觉得他是九年级球队中最出色的——他身

材不高但非常灵活。史密斯说:“你看到他盖帽儿,就想问问他是怎么盖的,因为他没那么高大,可他身手敏捷。唯一的问题是他将会长多高,会把自己的技能提高到什么程度。”

读完九年级的那个夏天,乔丹和史密斯一同参加了波谱·赫里的篮球夏令营。他们俩从当时还未长大成人,而当时几乎所有的校队队员都比他们大两三岁,在这个年龄,大一两岁在体魄上就大相径庭,因而看上去都比他们强壮得多。在史密斯的头脑中,他们二人谁更出色是毫无疑问的——迈克尔比他强得多。但是到了宣布校运动队队员筛选名单时—— 这可是一年中的大日子,因为他们几星期前就知道名单何时会公布—— 他和罗伊·史密斯都去了兰尼体育馆,而此时名单上有史密斯的名字,却没有迈克尔。

对于年轻的乔丹来说这一天简直遭透了。因为名单是按字母顺序排的,他就注意看可能有“乔”字的地方,可是并没有。他一遍又一遍地看着,真希望是自己看漏了,或者是字母顺序排错了。那天他独自回了家进屋后便大哭起来。史密斯明白所发生的一切——当迈克尔伤心或沮丧的时候,他不愿意见人。

兰尼的助理教练雷德·里奇后来说:“我们知道迈克尔很出色,但我们想让他多练练,所以觉得二队更适合他。”那一年他轻松地成了二队中最出色的队员。凭借着敏捷而并非身高,他在队中就已举足轻重。许多比赛他都能得到四十分。实际上他突出的表现使二队的比赛倍受欢迎。为了能看到有他参加的二队比赛,整个校队的队员都开始提早到场。

 
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