Following the Philadelphia Eagles’ victory over the New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Round, Eagles’ Head Coach Nick Sirianni compared star quarterback Jalen Hurts to hall-of-fame basketball player Michael Jordan.
“I know this is high praise, but to have him out there is like having, I shouldn’t even go there, but is like having Michael Jordan out there.”
This definitely comes as high praise, as Jordan is often considered the ‘greatest of all time’ in the sport of basketball.
The comparison is fitting though, as Hurts regularly wears Jordan cleats. In last nights win, Hurts was sporting a pair of Jordan 11 ‘Concord’.
However, it’s not Hurts’ cleat-of-choice that has earned him this comparison. It’s his team-first leadership and style of play.
Michael Jordan, a six-time NBA Championship winner, was known for his leadership. In The Last Dance, his documentary on Netflix, Jordan discussed his style of leadership.”Winning has a price, and leadership has a price. So I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled; I challenged people when they didn’t want to be challenged,” Jordan said.
Great leaders leave it all on the field for their team. Michael Jordan played with food poisoning in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. The “Flu Game” as people remember. Jordan then went on to score 38 points in 44 minutes, helping lead the Bulls to a win.
Hurts’ was dealing with a shoulder injury towards the end of the season. After suffering what was believed to be a sprained shoulder, Hurts sat out Week 16 and Week 17. Backup quarterback Gardener Minshew filled in but couldn’t get a victory. With the #1 seed on the line, Hurts returned to play, although not 100% in health, and led the Eagles to victory in Week 18 against the Giants.
Hurts, who is in his third season in the NFL, has always been about the team. After receiving captainship back in September, Hurts expressed his gratitude and gratefulness.
“I just want those guys to know that I’m going to give them everything I got. Every game, every play, every ounce of studying, every ounce of preparation, it’s for the benefit of the group. Every ounce of accountability, whatever, it’s all for the team. I appreciate the opportunity.”
Hurts, 24, has faced a great amount of adversity through his career. A four-star recruit coming out of high school, Hurts committed to Alabama in 2015 and became the first freshman quarterback to start under Nick Saban. After leading the Crimson Tide to back-to-back National Championship games, Hurts was benched for backup Tua Tagovailoa. He then transferred to Oklahmoma and had a heisman-like season. Drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, his successor Tagovailoa was picked 5th overall in the first round. During the draft process, Hurts faced questions about switching positions due to his ability to run. “I’m a quarterback,” he reiterated.
Through the challenges faced to get to where his career is at now, Hurts remains humble, and focused on winning. That is why this comparison comes as no surprise.
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