Nick Saban reacts to Michael Jordan clip from 'The Last Dance,' reflects on visit from Kobe Bryant

Yahoo Sports

ESPN’s 10-part documentary series about Michael Jordan, “The Last Dance,” concluded on Sunday night.

The series chronicled the final season of Jordan’s epic six-championship run with the Chicago Bulls and offered a rare, behind-the-scenes insight into Jordan’s mentality on the court on a daily basis. One of the most memorable moments of the series came at the conclusion of Episode 7 when Jordan was overcome with emotion when describing his fierceness and drive to win at all costs.

It’s a mindset Alabama head coach Nick Saban understands well. 

“This sort of defines the ultimate competitor,” Saban said after watching the clip in a video posted on Alabama football’s Twitter account. 

Saban, who has won six national championships as a head coach (five at Alabama), said Jordan’s approach to the game is very reflective of the culture he has instilled within his program.

“It explains what we’ve tried to accomplish here in this program by what we try to bring out in our players,” Saban said. “Which is to help them be the best version of themselves as people, as students and as players and get people to aspire to be the very best they can be. That’s all we’ve ever tried to do here. And I’ve never heard anybody articulate it any better than what Michael Jordan did because of the kind of competitor he was.”

Saban reflects on visit from Kobe Bryant

The clip of Jordan from “The Last Dance” also caused Saban to reflect on the message Kobe Bryant delivered to the Alabama team when the late NBA great visited Tuscaloosa in the summer of 2018.

It’s a message that resonates throughout the Alabama program to this day, Saban said. 

“When Kobe Bryant was here, he made a statement, ‘You have to edit your behavior to accomplish the goals that you have,’ ” Saban recalled. “I think sometimes people are reluctant to do that because it’s hard. It’s not comfortable. It’s very uncomfortable. You have to get used to being uncomfortable if you really want to be good at something because it’s going to be difficult. 

“You have to overcome adversity. There’s no way you can do that and have things be easy. These statements epitomize what we believe in terms of what we try to do to have our players be the best they can be.”

Alabama quarterback <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/32675/" data-ylk="slk:Tua Tagovailoa">Tua Tagovailoa</a>, left, talks with Alabama head coach Nick Saban before the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, left, talks with Alabama head coach Nick Saban before the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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