In Search of Greatness (2018) Movie Script

All art, in a way,
is the creation of illusion.
He did it. The
greatest goal scorer in National Hockey League history.
It's Wayne Gretzky.
Goal! Pel!
Jerry Rice is
just unstoppable.
Jerry Rice showing
you why he's the best
receiver in the National
Football League.
The world illusion
is the idea of
measurement with certain
systems of numbers.
Whether it be so many...
I don't think I was the most
talented receiver
to play in NFL.
What does
talented even mean?
Talented, I'm talking about
size-wise, speed-wise,
you look at The Combine, and
they base so much off the 40.
If you can run
a good 40 time,
that can throw you right
up into the first round,
but that doesn't mean...
uh, that you're going to be
a great football player.
Let me tell you.
If they had me in the Hockey
Combine, I would probably be
rated at the lowest, because
I couldn't bench 195 once.
Jumping is not
something that I was great at.
My cardio was my forte, so I
would do well at the anaerobic
part of it, but that doesn't
make you a hockey player.
That's only part of making
you a hockey player.
Sometimes we read way
too much into this stuff.
If you lined me up to run
a 40-yard dash and I didn't
have the uniform on,
there's no way I could've
run a good 40-yard dash.
And that was the knock on me,
that I was not fast
like these sprinters,
these guys that could run a 4-2,
but I knew I had football speed.
I loved the fact that people
didn't think I was fast.
There's a difference
between being fast
going around the rink once...
but getting to loose pucks
is a whole different speed,
and it's a whole
different kind of fast.
As he gets a step on
O'Callahan, off he goes,
...coming up... He scores.
Gretzky with that
deceptive speed.
I didn't have the hardest
shot in the game,
but I guarantee
that I had one of
the most accurate shots.
If I saw a spot, I'm
going to put it there.
Perfect spot.
I love data, right?
I love data analysis
and sports data analytics,
but I think
there are cases in which we
become too slavish to it.
So there's this...
this almost desire to validate
everything by data,
and it's backward.
It's making something important
because we can measure it.
It's not measuring it
because it's important,
and so I think it can end up
putting coaches in a sort of
pigeon hole, where
everything they have to do
has to be measurable.
Poor build, skinny.
Lacks mobility and
ability to avoid...
Lacks a very strong arm.
Lacks great physical stature.
One of the slowest
quarterbacks in The Combine.
I think The Combine measures
are stupid, so that's
a different thing.
They don't test for
creativity at all.
I'm not against stats or data,
it's all very important.
Diagnostically, it's helpful.
The problem is, it-- it--
the tail has started to
wag the dog here
in all kinds of fields.
If the stats come to
dominate your judgment,
then you're not showing
any judgment at all.
The game is about
having the puck.
The game is about scoring goals.
It's not about push-ups and how
high a guy can jump off the ice.
Why don't people
say, "We need guys
like Wayne Gretzky."
-Someone study him.
Do what he does.
Why does
everyone look at you and say,
"This is the exception."
-I mean, everyone
wants to see a Wayne Gretzky.
When the human genome
was sequenced, there was
this hopeful thinking
that there'd be one gene that
has the shape of your nose
and one gene
determines you height
et cetera, et cetera.
But it actually turns out
the networks of genes
work together in
incredibly complicated ways
that then interact
with the environment.
Who is the most
impressive athlete
that you've ever seen?
The Garrincha rose to the top of world football is even more
remarkable when you consider
that he was born
with such a disability.
Garrincha was a
physical impossibility.
He had one knee that went in
and one knee that went out.
Normally, people have both knees going in or both going out.
In theory, he shouldn't
have even been able to walk.
Fans are having
a hard time breathing.
Completely unpredictable.
But his disability
influenced his style.
Rocky Marciano was one
of the greatest heavyweights by
common consent in the history
of heavyweight boxing.
He was fierce and
completely unconventional.
He was lighter than most
heavyweights, shorter
than many of them
and had a very short reach.
67 inches, this way here,
which is not very long.
If you took that
as a stat, then you'd never
hire the guy.
You had to devise this
style of punch
fighting that you did
because of the short reach?
Yes, that was the big reason.
I had to sort of get low and try
to come up, as we say,
from underneath to get
in close on an opponent
because the closer
I could get to an opponent,
the more damage I could do
with the short arms.
He realized the limitations
of his own physique
and developed a whole new style
of boxing that suited him.
A left. Another left
a blazing right...
He knocked out Joe Louis.
He had over 40 professional
fights and never lost.
Mean hard punches
are definitely weakening
the challenger.
What punch did you feel that you
knocked Joe Walcott down with?
I thought it was
the right uppercut
that really knocked him out.
He didn't fit
the textbook at all,
but he turned out
to be one of the greatest
heavyweight boxers, ever.
Part of my creativity
was survival.
I didn't have that sort
of strength and size to be
able to combat myself physically
against other guys.
At 14, I moved to Toronto
to play bantam hockey,
and I'm thinking, "Gosh, I
was like 5"6 1/2, 125 pounds.
Now I'm playing with some men."
On the very first practice,
this coach had me on the ice
and he said, "When you go home
tonight, the Leafs are playing
Philadelphia Flyers." He said,
"You spend the next month and
you watch Bobby Clarke play."
Bobby Clarke was
the first centerman
that played on the power play
and played the game
out of the corners,
not so much from behind the net.
I studied him and I studied him
and I watched him.
It was new for people.
I started playing out of the
corner and from behind the net
because nobody
had ever done that before.
And I started
using the net as a decoy.
Consequently, I wasn't standing
in front getting knocked over
and being on my keister
the whole time.
still with it.
Hanging on behind the net.
Still has it.
Centered it, scored!
Well, you know, you can't
chase him behind the net.
How are you going to
stop that play?
By the time they sort of... kind
of figured it out, I'd retired.
So, even at 13, 14
when I was playing
against 19, 20-year-olds,
and then
17 years old against men,
I didn't have to change
my game because
my game always was the same in
the sense that I
wasn't going to rely
on speed or power,
that wasn't going to
get me to the next level.
What was going to get me
to the next level
was my wisdom
and my vision on the ice.
Jerry, okay,
so do you feel like you
have better genetics
than anyone?
No, no, no.
I worked on certain qualities
that maybe I was lacking.
Say, because of my speed, I
had to run disciplined routes.
Timing is everything.
I got to have
this clock in my head.
The ball is halfway to you
before you come out
of that realm.
There's no such thing as a sports gene,
but there are innate biological factors
that predispose
some people for being
successful in some sports, but
I don't think that's really
where we should look for the
competitive advantage anymore.
That takes care of itself, that
filter, so the question is,
where else do you look
for the competitive advantage?
What else is important?
At a very early age,
children learn to speak.
Nobody teaches them
how to do it.
Cause you couldn't,
it's far too complicated.
If you got a child, you
don't sit this child down
at the age of 18 months and say,
"Look, we need to talk."
No, they learn to do it,
and they'll learn
five languages if
they are exposed to them.
If they are exposed to them
at an early enough age,
they will learn
all sort of things which may
become more difficult later on.
How old are you, Tiger?
That's the key to learning skills,
is setting up an environment
where someone learns implicitly
the same way we learn language,
so that you create an
environment that forces them to
learn things
without articulating
exactly what they're learning.
When I was four years old, I
used to watch hockey in Canada,
and I would take a piece
of paper and draw a rink.
Then without
looking at the paper,
I watched a hockey game on TV
and I would
take my pen and I would
follow the puck, and I would
just... for 20 minutes.
I would see where-- which part
of the ice the puck was in more
often than the other side,
and I would do it every game.
Nobody told me to do it.
Your dad didn't
say, "Try this out"?
Because it seems
like it's so simple.
What I would do just to get
the feel of the football
when I was in bed, I would toss
the ball up in the air
and it was black dark
in the room, and being able
to catch the football,
knowing exactly where
I positioned the ball
and being able to catch it.
Developing skill in anything is
this process
of self-discovering.
Anyone who's ever enjoyed
training is because,
not just the game, the training,
they love that process of
self-discovery and of changing
themselves and figuring
out how that works.
When we were kids,
we used to knock on doors
with your friends and say,
"Do you want to play?"
That's what we did, we went
and played and we
learned and we got creative.
When I was ten years old, I
played in a minor hockey team in
my hometown Brantford, Ontario
and there was a team
in just the north
of Toronto, and every
tournament, they beat us
3-2 or 4-3 in the final.
I remembered being in the car one day
and driving home from the tournament.
My dad was driving, and my dad
said the most incredible
statement, I always remembered
since I was ten years old.
He said, "You know, their
team is better as a team than
you guys are." but he said,
"I'll promise you one thing.
There won't be one boy from that
team that ever plays in the NHL,
because they're too structured,
they play too much
of a team game.
The defense stay back,
the left-wing and right-wing
stay on their side,
and for kids, that's
not the way to play."
Sure enough, there wasn't
one kid on that team
that made pro hockey.
We had five boys
off our minor team
that made
the National Hockey League.
There's a great study recently
out of the German soccer team
that just won the World Cup,
looking at the development path
of the guys who made the
national team
and the guys who were one rung
below that, and the only
big difference they could come
up with was that the guys who
made the national team had a lot
more time in unstructured
small-sided play
when they were young
where the field might just be
like an alley that wasn't
normal proportions
and continued with more
unstructured play into pros.
That was the main
difference they could find.
A big part of it is giving
people the freedom
to experiment,
to try and fail and make
mistakes when they're younger.
You actually see this in chess.
If kids study too rigidly
certain types of openings,
they literally become stuck
in a certain pattern of playing
and hit a plateau
and never get better.
They have to be
given a certain amount of
unstructured time to create
and to find themselves.
If you take ten kids
through a pond today
and said to them, "All right,
go play." They'd say,
"Well, what do we do?"
Because they're all so
structured now
and it's so analytical now.
We were much freer to come
and go then than I think
kids are now.
There was much more free time
in school than there is now.
We've lost our creativity
and imagination that
we used to have in
the '60s and '70s and '80s.
I was looking at a
report recently saying that,
on average,
kids today in urban settings
in America have
less unstructured time
than the average
high-security prisoner.
And if you think of it,
that's probably right.
Medium high-security
prisoners get to get
outside for like
a half an hour a day.
There's so much competitive
balance now in sports,
and there is so much money
involved in
the sporting world now.
The parents of eight, nine
and ten-year-old kids
are putting them in home school,
they go to hockey academies,
they go to football academies.
They all have that
dream of, "Okay, my son
can make it
and make all this money."
I think there's
this now, sort of, especially
in sports, these forces that
push parents
towards specializing
as early as possible in a sport.
Where it's like, "Whoa, if your
kid's not on the five-year-old
travel team,
then they're not going to be ready for the
six-year-old travel team."
Whereas the development of
actual lead athletes is
that they sample a bunch of
sports early on, and only later
do they specialize.
I didn't start playing football
till my sophomore year
in high school
because, to be honest, my mom,
she didn't want me to play.
She said it was too violent.
I was a kid that
when season ended,
I threw my bag of hockey
equipment down in the basement,
couldn't wait to get
my baseball glove on,
we dreamed of whether it was
a world series
or whether we were playing
pick-up basketball or pond
hockey, that we were that guy.
I had the same passion and dream of
playing major league baseball,
but I wasn't quite as good
and didn't make baseball.
I read that you studied karate a little bit.
Did that help
you understand soccer?
I remember back
in the day, Bruce Lee,
that was my favorite movie, man.
This dude, the way he could you know,
fight, he was. It was amazing.
And his toughness and all that.
When you're in football, you got to be
able to fight for your ground.
Each and every sport
you participate in
helps the sport you mostly love.
Lacrosse is all hand-eye coordination,
baseball, the mentality
and the thinking of the game and
having to be aware of
each and every moment.
There's one out, there's two
out, there's runner and first,
and that all rolls into
the creativity
and imagination that I had
to have to become
the athlete I became.
Ironically, as well, I
think parents who can afford it,
they're trying to give their
kids the best start they can by
over-scheduling them,
they become like social
secretaries for their own kids,
where they're driving
from this club to that club,
all in the belief
that in doing that, they're
giving them the best
possible start.
But actually, what kids often
need is just time to hang out.
They want the best for them, but it
manifests in this over-management,
in this trying to
tell them how to do
something, and it's just--
you can't work that way.
Act like
you want to play this game.
-I am.
-No, you're not.
You're moping around, going half in
the mile not getting the play.
What is that?
Come on, guys.
You're killing me.
Parents come up to me and say,
"Will you tell my son how
many hours a day you used to
practice?" I say, "I didn't.
You know, it was a passion. I would be
there all day long because I loved it."
Now, if you tell a ten-year-old, "You got
to practice three hours a day
because Wayne Gretzky did." That's not
going to work. That's not going to cut it.
What did it mean
to his career?
Well, we weren't
concerned about his career.
All we were concerned about
is letting him
live a life like everybody else.
A 14-year-old boy,
that's all he is.
It was not life and death for us as a
family that I had to play sports.
My case has always been that
childhood is about the precious
time and that
lays the foundation
for the rest of your life.
-You know why you're famous?
-Do you love being a ninja warrior?
-Were you born to be a ninja warrior?
Part of that is
just learning to play
and relax and to do
things where the stakes
aren't too high and without
necessarily having to pass
a test as a result.
- And he's off!
Look at the athleticism
from Yoshi.
I think there's
a fine line between
being supportive in a way that's
either going to make them
lose the love of
what they're doing...
Wow, look at
the upper body strength.
...or is going to make their
learning like, "This is exactly
what I have to do," where
they're tightened up like this.
Yoshi! Yoshi!
I remember at 13, 14,
buddies would call me
and say, "We're
going to the movies today.
You want to go to a movie
on Saturday afternoon?"
"No." My dad would be saying, "You're
going to a movie or not?"
"No, I don't want to go.
This is what I want to do."
I go in the backyard
and shoot pucks for two hours.
It's what made me happy.
Playing is
a musical thing.
It is a dance.
It is an expression of delight.
Well, if it wasn't for my dad,
I would never have made it.
My dad made me
the athlete I was, he made it--
Did he know
a lot about hockey?
He knew enough.
He was a very smart man, my dad.
Very intelligent.
He seems to have eyes
in the back of his head
at times,
but instead of forcing against
the check, he has a knack
of rolling with the check
and he never gets
hurt badly in that respect.
- You're not scared?
He was smart enough to
realize, for whatever reason,
I had a gift and he pushed
that gift to another level.
When I was a kid
and we used to do drills,
I would do drills with
tennis balls, and everybody
would say, "Why is he
stick-handling with tennis
balls?" My dad would say,
"Tennis balls bounce.
When you're on the ice,
if it's bouncing,
it's harder to control,
and if you learn how to control
the tennis ball, it's going
to be a lot easier
to control the puck."
He is shooting,
he scores!
You see these rackets here,
we teach the girls to throw
the racket, and the reason we
train that way is because
we know that most girls
are not able to throw
that well, and that's
why they are serving that
as it should be
in most cases.
To me, that's one of the hardest
things ever to do
as a professional athlete,
is following the footsteps
of your dad, simple as that.
My dad, he was a very... he was a
disciplinarian and stuff like that,
and he was one of those guys
you didn't mess around with.
If he wanted you to be
somewhere at a certain time,
you had to be at that place
early or right on time.
20 years, I played football.
20 years.
I was late once, and I was late
because I was caught in traffic.
- Was your mom just as tough as your dad?
-Uh, you know...
You know, we always talk about
the father being the backbone of
the family and all that,
but I think it was my mom.
What I learned from my mom is that,
uh, it's okay to be nice to everyone.
I mean, even if you don't feel
like it, take the time, be nice.
It can go a long, long way.
If you sat down and interviewed
my dad, he'd tell you
he can make another Wayne
Gretzky because it's all about--
- You have brothers too.
-Were they as motivated as you?
-Not quite as motivated.
They loved it,
but not quite like I did.
- They had the same kind of training and...-Yes.
They did
everything I did, except
maybe didn't do it as much.
Then the other thing that
they had to deal with
that I didn't, was the pressures of
being Wayne Gretzky's brother.
What do you think
is the best of your game?
The best part of my game?
Go ahead.
I think It would be my return
serves and my backhand.
It was hard because
it was all about Venus
and you know, seeing her
get all this attention
and you don't
want to feel like you're
not worthy or
you're not as good.
When you're doing the same thing, but
you're not getting any attention for it,
it was kind of hard.
I had to fight for everything
that I have.
I had to work so hard
to get to her level.
Serena will probably be
a better player than Venus.
That's not to compare
my girls, but she will be.
Explains my whole
attitude in the court.
Serena, it something like
a pit bull dog.
Once she get a hold
to you, she won't let go.
Miss Williams
win-win championship match.
The younger sister will take home
the bigger trophy again.
But now the embrace.
That's the biggest rule.
When it comes to
coaching and teaching
and this
pressure for conformity,
Um, is the...
The assumption that there is
a formula that you can follow, and if you
just get the formula right,
if it's a great formula,
you will be great.
This is easier.
-Yes, we can handle it.
-It's okay.
The system itself is based on conformity
and compliance and standardization.
If we know anything about people, they
are diverse, creative and want
fulfillment and meaning, not drudgery
and a kind of dreary, repetitive existence.
So, if you promote conformity, don't be
surprised if that's what you get.
It's much more often
the case that
the people who achieve real greatness
don't fit the formula at all.
In fact, they break the mold, they
do something completely different,
and that's true in all areas
around, true about David Bowie.
Because he
wasn't trying to conform,
his music was pretty dangerous
and right on the edge and he didn't
know if he'd ever come back from it.
I had a day when I was playing hooky
just a little bit from class,
and the principal, he walked up
behind me, he scared me,
he noticed I could run fast.
After I got punished, he wanted
me to go out for the football
team and I went out.
And, everything else is history.
That's it.
Yes, I had one or two coaches
that weren't exactly on my side.
They wanted me to
play sort of a system
and a style that I wasn't
accustomed to.
Consequently, that was
one of the reasons
why I left Brantford.
The coaching wasn't copacetic
to the style of play
that I was playing
and I knew it wasn't going to
get any different
as I got older.
I got a chance to see videos
of kids in the Netherlands who
were tracked from the age
of 12 up to professional soccer.
The Netherlands is
really good at soccer.
You'd see the kids at
age 12 who went on to the pros.
There was a lot of differences in behavior
within them, but a lot of them were these
ones who were going up
to their coach being like,
"Why are we
doing this drill again?
What's this helping me work on?
I think I can already do this.
It's too easy."
And the coach is like .
It doesn't mean, from the
beginning, they disrespect
all the rules,
they just think there's some
other way to do this.
Look at this,
Tom Brady and Bill O'Brien.
We just still relish the sheer
outrage that people felt
when John McEnroe,
with his sweatband
and this kind of afro
walked off the hallowed turf
of Wimbledon and started
screaming at the judge.
You can't be serious, man.
You cannot be serious.
That ball was on the line.
Shot blew up.
His point was, "Now, I spent
my life practicing this sport."
-"Calling this ball out
is a very big deal for me."
How can you
possibly call that out?
They'll keep walking over,
everyone knows it's
in the whole Stadium,
and you call it out?
"This is my career
we're talking about, and this is
a bad call." But they tried
everything they could to box
him back in and to tell him
just to toe the line,
literally, but the net result
was, he improved the game.
They improved the training of judges,
they improved the technology
for line calls, and he
was making a very serious point.
But at the time, people just saw him
as some kind of hooligan.
That balance of freedom
and control is very important.
You see it in every field. It's like
at Woodstock when Jimi Hendrix
started playing
The Star Spangled Banner.
Nobody'd ever heard
it played like that before.
All senses, it turns out.
He was so recognized for
"The Star Spangled Banner"
that played in that context
in that way, it took on
a whole new meaning for an
entire generation of people.
They're paradigm shifters, like they've mastered
the fundamental body of work,
and it's boring
for them to do the same thing.
Human achievement
is often seen as
achievement in
the external world,
but it's only
made possible through
achievements in
the internal world.
We are a species that lives on
ideas and imagination,
The Gretzkys
and the Jerry Rices,
they look faster or quicker
than the next guy because
they're like Neo in The Matrix.
Ali did have one of
the fastest reaction speeds
ever recorded.
He was like
an intuitive neurologist,
he moved his body in a way
that took away that ability
to anticipate for his opponents.
Greatness in the military art is
the art of being unattackable.
My awareness was my creativity
to be able to sort of sidestep
that big hit and to get
out of the way of that big hit.
He's like a ghost,
floating around the ice.
It's almost like that
football is so much bigger.
Everything slows down
just a little bit.
You know, the rotation of
the ball, I remember
the nose of
the ball just slows down.
That's what great pianists do.
Their fingers aren't like born
ten times faster
than everybody else's. They're
economizing their movement
and they're going
to the next place that
they know they
need to go before they've
even finished
the first movement.
That's a figment
of true expertise.
You're seeing what's going
to happen before it happens.
They have to.
The game is so fast and it's
played at such a high tempo on
such a physical level, you don't
have time to think on this.
This ability to pick up on
what look like disparate pieces
of information and to quickly
draw information from them.
So again, in language,
in a simple way, if I give you
20 random English words
you'll have trouble memorizing
them and giving them back to me.
If I put those words in
a meaningful
20-word sentence,
you'll quickly draw
meaning from it
and probably remember it
because you've learned
how to intuitively
group these words into
chunks that have great meaning
for you so they're not chaotic.
It's what Tom Brady has
learned to do with
a football field instantly.
He can group players
in a way that tells him
what's coming next
because he instantly
draws information from it.
and algebra is really hard.
Some kids breeze through it
like it's nothing.
They remember every single thing
about it and get 100%,
and they go
"Oh, I get a 100% in algebra
or whatever." In hockey,
I can remember every single
play, every single game,
every single night because it's the
passion I had and it was easy for me.
That's almost insane. That's not normal.
I can't remember anything.
This is what I've been told. I
was always running in my sleep.
You're playing
the game in your sleep,
and the majority of
the time is like the next day.
The way I visualized it, the way I dreamt
about it, it happened that way.
Just like that.
Michael Jordan,
the night before a game,
Gretzky, Pel,
all of these guys, we played
this game over
and over in our heads before
we actually go out
and take the field.
One of the world's experts
in prodigy, someone
named Ellen Winner
at Boston College
calls it a rage to master.
She says there're two
qualities of true prodigies.
It's a rage to master a certain
domain like a
complete obsessive.
I think rage to master is
pretty much self-explanatory
and an ability to
learn quickly in the domain.
She's seen people who have the
rage but not the ability
to learn quickly.
People have the ability to
learn quickly but not the rage.
And when these two things
come together, then you
have someone who
can change their field.
A lot of creative work comes out
of-- may come from a flash of
insight, but then you
need the skills
and the technique
and the hard graft
to make it actually work.
Dick Fosbury of
the United States
getting ready for his jump.
Clearly the most unusual jumper in this Olympics.
His unorthodox style
clearing the bar
has shocked
the track and field world.
It's working. Fosbury breaks
the Olympic record.
You're going over backwards like
you can't see
where you're going.
Now, it's
completely easy to understand
from a physics
perspective why that's
the best thing to do
because your center
of mass is in
the middle of the curl.
It goes under the bar
you don't have to jump as high.
But scientists only found that
after the fact.
He was discovering this
intuitively and saying,
"This feels right to me"
and being discouraged.
I get to see
Roger Federer warming up
for the US Open one time.
This is the guy
who doesn't really need
to practice his
basic strokes anymore.
Yet while most people
are simulating games
with their warming up.
Here he is.
He sets up like a ball-boy
across the court
and has the ball-boy
hold his hand like this
and starts trying to hit the
ball into the ball boy's hand
without having him move it
and it's going a little bit up
and to this side
and sits there for like
an hour doing this until...
To be able to obsess
on that little thing
to have fun with that
and the compulsion to have it.
I think the vast majority of
great athletes have that to some
degree, whether it's Jerry Rice,
trying to cut that route, again,
just perfectly obsessing on that
little bitty thing that other
people would say, "Well, I've
got it," good enough
and move on.
I think that's pretty unique.
I think that's almost essential.
The epitome of this is when
Tony Hawk hold the first 900.
He's on ESPN2 doing
the X Games and he's missing.
He's not rotating enough.
He keeps
missing and falling into
the clock for his time runs out.
He just keeps walking
his board up there and getting
a little closer,
just a little more revolution.
It's like eight minutes
after the competition is over.
The competition is over
and he's just
walking back up
then over-rotates a little,
under-rotates a little
and he keeps coming back.
Next is Tony Hawk.
After his time is expired,
he nails it
and everyone goes crazy.
He could not walk away without just
honing that into the exact right angle.
And that's
the only motivation, really?
At home, when you--
with your family, you try
to devote that time
to your family, but then
once you put the kids
to bed or something like that
then you're
thinking about football.
Even on a Monday
when you guys are resting like
you would be--
I never did. Even on a Monday.
You made more
sacrifices than maybe anyone.
Just say I was
willing to put my body
through in my mind
just a little bit more.
You have to assume
that in NFL, like in any
professional sports team,
everybody is giving it 100%
or else, it's their life.
It's their career. It's everything to them, right? I mean--
That's really what
they supposed to do, but,
do they actually buy into it
and give one 100%?
As a player, I used to watch,
each and every night,
I watched every game.
I could tell you who's
playing well in January,
how many points each
and every guy had in the league.
Who was physically
hard to play against.
Statistically and imaginatively,
I studied it all.
This obsession to
work ethic, to that
compulsive behavior,
which it seems like these guys
have. Can you identify them
as obsessive-compulsive
people, all of these guys?
We've figured out
how to breed animals for
compulsive physical
activities very, very easily.
We know that some of these
same genes exist in humans.
- Which animals?
-Sled dogs, for example,
have not been getting faster
for decades,
they've just been getting
more voracious about running.
And mice, is really easy.
You take a group of mice, mice
run every night voluntarily.
If you take a group and you
separate the ones that just
voluntarily run
a little bit more
and the ones that run just a
little bit less and breed them
with each other
and do that several times.
After ten generations
of doing that,
you have entirely different
animals. You have ones that are
hitting the running wheel
and just hammering and then,
these other that are just
slovenly laying on it.
If you stop the ones
that are compelled to run
from running,
they become depressed.
They're literally
crackheads for running.
How competitive
were you?
How motivated were you?
-Like Michael Jordan--
No, no, no. Listen, there's
all different ways.
You guys sit
and ask me, "Where did my
competition or my competitive
nature came from?"
My competitive nature
has gone a long way
from the first time
I picked up any sport.
As I moved on in my career,
people added wood to that fire.
Well, you look at Michael
Jordan's Hall of Fame speech
which is an incredible thing.
Here he is,
a guy who is synonymous
with the sport basically.
From his Hall of Fame speech,
you would have thinked he was
the guy who got
picked last in kickball
and never had any friends.
To the coach who actually
picked Leroy over me, I want
to make sure you understood
you made a mistake, dude.
I mean, there's Buzz Peterson,
my roommate.
Now, when I first met Buzz,
all I heard about was this kid
from Asheville, North Carolina
who was the player of the year.
I'm thinking, "Well, he's
never played against me yet."
Michael Jordan in
a mid-air collision with a
backboard. This is amazing.
That's the high
that young man get up.
Buzz became a dot on my radar.
Not knowingly.
He didn't know it.
Coach Smith, the day that
he was on the Sports Illustrated
and he named four starters
and he didn't name me,
that burned me up.
That burned me
up. That burned me up.
All he did was
redress his grievances,
some of which weren't even real.
He was just creating
these sort of conflicts
and I think that can be um...
You know to get motivated
to try to do something
that nobody else does
or to harness your anger
because it's not life or death,
the games, but you have
to act like it's life or death.
For someone like me
who achieved a lot and over
the time of my career, you look
for any kind of messages
that people may say or do
to get you motivated to
play the game of basketball
at the highest level.
- Wayne.
In your early professional career as you were a youth, did
anyone ever doubt you and say,
"You know, Wayne Gretzky..."
-Yes. A lot of people.
-Did you know who
those people were?
Sure. I read every article
and it motivated me.
-It motivated you?
Gretzky and Pel,
they want the ball
you know, in their court.
You need a mentor.
You need someone to
teach you.
You have to have guidance.
You have to have that guidance.
Once you get to a point,
you hand them off to people who
know what they're talking about
and that's what my dad did.
Well, my dad handed me off
to a guy, he handed me
to Glen Sather, who was
exactly like my dad.
They both had the same
sort of thoughts of what was
going to make me the player
that I would become.
You got quite a few
fathers on a hockey club like
this, I would say.
Fathers and big brothers
and all their brothers.
You're looked after pretty good.
Everybody said once
you turn pro, all they're
going to do is
make you play defense.
I can never play defense.
My defense was having the puck.
If I had the puck,
you couldn't score.
In other words, you had to find somebody that...
Yeah, somebody found me.
It was luck for me because Bill
Walsh, he saw the potential.
He was looking at television
and he knows me running across
the television making, as he
would say, incredible catches.
I'm going to
make you feel beautiful.
I take no obligation.
Jerry Rice has
64 yards for touchdown
in a second quarter.
Rice had nine catches
for 155 yards.
He went back to San Francisco
and he said, "Hey look,
we need to take a look
at this Jerry Rice guy."
For Mississippi Valley
State University,
it's amazing what he's able
to do on the football field.
The San Francisco 49ers select
16 picking the first round.
Wide Receiver,
Jerry Rice, Mississippi Valley.
If it wasn't Bill
Walsh, there's probably
a scenario where
there's no Jerry Rice.
Yes, that's true.
OK, so when you
got into the NFL,
you had adversity.
I think, the most
difficult thing
about that is that I
knew I could catch the football,
but when I came in,
I was dropping footballs
and didn't have the fans to
boo me and trying to
fight through that adversity.
I had a lot of stuff
that I had to overcome,
but I still knew that I
could catch the football.
Then to have Bill Walsh
in my corner
to still say, "Hey look, you're
going to be great one day."
That gave me a little bit
extra incentive to fight.
This guy, he was such a genius
and he knew how to be your
best friend, but then he knew
how to be your worst enemy.
He was just like
my father, the way he made you
feel a little bit uncomfortable.
I put the f###### my end, Paul.
You correct me
on the field, I put
the thing in upstairs.
Now, I've been told
by you what f### to do.
Let's go.
Who's the best coach you ever played for and why is he great?
The Brazilians' kid
playing the style of
total freedom.
Everybody tries
to be the same kind
of team
and everybody tries to save
their own necks
and everybody tries
to have that
safe place to go to.
I got to Edmonton and Glen
Sather said, "Oh my God,
no, no, no, you get the puck.
You do whatever
you want with the puck."
Gretzky, circling,
spinning, avoiding defender.
Gretzky's shooting, goal!
He said, "I can teach a guy
how to play defense.
I cannot teach a guy,
how to score 70 goals."
If you want to be successful
at anything, you've got to
believe in yourself, because
no one else is going to do it.
If you don't do it yourself,
then you can rely on
everybody else
who's been unsuccessful, and you
can sit around the bar together
and cry about it.
But if you're going to do it,
you do it by yourself.
It takes some guts to do that.
Nobody took away
my creativity and if anything,
they all worked with it.
A great coach often endeavors
to make themselves
less relevant
and less relevant over time
and handing over control
to the athletes.
If a coach sees themselves as
just a drill sergeant
whose job is just to make sure you hit
your mark and do nothing else.
Then it's going
to stifle that whole era
of collaborative innovation
that all the great teams
actually demonstrate
all the time.
Your coach through...
humor, sarcasm,
just plane force, you got to
change the pace all the time
just to get
the most out of a guy.
Some players, you never ball out
because it's against their
personality to take it.
See, everybody is
a different person.
When you realize that fact,
you become a better coach.
A lot of athletes,
when it comes to taking that
last shot, where you win
or lose, they shy away from it.
They don't want that--
be the goat or the hero.
They're very nervous about it.
I like the guy who's
going to say, "Give it to me.
I'll take that shot."
The lot of
the players they don't want
to deal with
the consequences
because if you don't make that play,
now you got to
deal with everything
that comes with it.
Here is Jordan with three seconds to go. He shoots.
No good.
You can be stressful,
but there has to be
a calmness about you, too.
So, you got somehow to be
able to balance both because--
You're too
relaxed, you're--
Yes. Then, you're too relax.
Then, you're not
going out and you're not
playing with enough intensity.
You got to be, you know,
like something in between,
how you can balance it.
The most difficult thing for me
is, and this used to always
bother me during the Superbowl.
Yet for time out...
...they got to show commercials,
they got to do all that.
-The reason why
wherever he goes,
Spuds MacKenzie has so much fun.
-He's always in control.
-Spuds loves...
You know the play before that
time out is coming your way.
Can you imagine?
You're processing all of this in
your head like, "My God, my God,
this is a long time out."
So I need a distraction.
I would look in the stands
and find someone and I would
focus on that individual
until that time out is over
and now we can go back
to playing football.
dropping back.
He floats along
throw down there to Rice.
Touchdown! 49ers.
I knew where my family was.
I knew where my friends were.
I knew when they
went for a popcorn.
I knew everything
going on in the arena.
Some guys can do it.
Some guys have no idea.
From my point of view,
it made me comfortable.
And it worked for me.
- You weren't like trying to visualize doing this.-No, never.
I was playing ping pong
and five to seven
for a seven o'clock game.
Maybe that was
my way of easing away from
the pressure and the thoughts
of going on the ice.
There is only now.
Now is all there ever was and all that there ever will be.
You want to
give those individuals
the greatest show ever.
The whole of
the universe wants a thrill.
That's what it's all about,
otherwise it would be boring
for that is the spirit
of showmanship of the players.
To be able to bring them
to their feet like that,
to give them
something they had never seen.
I think that's everything,
that's why we play the game.
When I see a guy do something
and brings me out of my chair
you go, "Wow!"
Like Montana,
an 80-yard drive in the last minute
and a half of a game to
win the Superbowl, you go,
"Wow, that's unreal."
The great players have
a personality that shines
through in their technique
and how they apply it
in their sense of artistry.
I think, the great players do recognize
that what they're doing
isn't just taking part in a
game, it's also a performance.
Do you consider
yourself an artist?
Oh, yes, 100% and that's not
trying to be egotistical,
that's just a fact.
I entertain people.
I entertained and I was
an artist and I was paid to win.
I would watch
Barry Sanders run.
There was something
qualitatively different
about what he was doing when he was
putting one foot in front of the other.
You could watch the five-yard
loss and say,
"That is something I've
never seen before."
It's like Picasso just doing
something different with the brush
and I think
there is that aspect to sport.
Because otherwise, you're
just watching four quarters again,
and guys putting
the same ball in the same hoop.
I've wrestled with alligators,
I've tussled with a whale,
I done handcuff lightning
and put thunder in jail.
You know I'm bad,
I have murdered a rock.
I injured a stone
and I hospitalized a brick.
I'm so bad I made medicine sick.
I'm so fast, man,
I can run through
a hurricane and don't get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
he'll pay his debt.
I can drown a drink of
water and kill a dead tree,
wait until you see Muhammad Ali.
I think I was obsessed
with the way I looked.
I don't like
just old beat up shoes.
I had a pair of new shoes
every football game.
Didn't you get blisters though,
'cause new shoes...
No at all.
It didn't bother me at all.
It just, you know, one of those
ritual things that I felt that
was very important to my game.
You have to look a certain way
to play well
on a football field.
The right pants,
the right socks,
style was very important,
very important to me.
You need to
help me with the jam.
-You need to help me with the jam.
-Give it to me.
-You need tohelp me with the jam.
-You need to help me with the jam.
-You've got it.
-Yes, I've been good.
You need to
help me with the jam.
-You need to
help me with the jam.
It was just like doing a dance,
it had to be a certain way.
The way I positioned
my hands, the way
I utilized my feet.
You have to
have a creative mind.
And you have to be one of
those individuals that's willing
to step out of
your boundary just a little bit.
The Ali shuffles
brought the crowd laughing.
I am the master of illusion.
Learn my hand.
Right before your eye
is a miracle, a miracle.
It was art.
Art, but still
staying in a team concept.
The coaches can only do so much.
Now it's up to the players
and the players,
they have to take over the team.
Black 59 Razor.
Black 59 Razor.
Black 59 Razor.
Black 59 Razor.
Whenever he said that,
I knew there was no safety.
I just had this guy
right in front of me to beat.
Just look down the line, look
at him, we smile at each other
and we know that, "Okay,
t's time to go to work here."
All I have to do
is just run my best route,
get open and I knew that he was
going to deliver the football.
Black 59 Razor.
He knew he could trust me
and I knew I could trust him
because we had done it
over and over again.
Mario and I did
our talking on the ice.
You know, we kind of knew
where each other was.
We played the game
in our mind the same way.
When I got the puck,
I knew where he was going to be
because that's
where I'd be, vice versa.
We played against
the Czechs in the Round-Robin.
We had a two on
one against Hasek,
and I passed him the puck
and he passed it back
to me and I didn't score.
When we got back
to the bench, I said "Mario,
if we ever get a two on one
again, I'm setting it up,
you're the shooter,
you don't miss."
He never misses and sure enough
final game, final shift,
we had two one and I knew when I passed it to
him, he wasn't going to do anything but shoot it.
It's about a ritual thinking
so it's about coming with
something fresh and new.
I remember talking to Paul
McCartney about it and he said
he and John used to
sit down at the height
of their work in The Beatles.
One of them would
always have an idea for a song.
That was the rule.
He said,
"The other rules, we never
stood up until we got the song."
-How are we doing, Hal?
-Sometimes it took ten minutes
and sometimes it might take 40,
he said "I don't think it ever
took more than an hour when we
stood up and we had a song."
The second one out of
every three is the one.
Every Beatles song
is different
from the other
Beatles songs and why?
Because they
decided they had to be.
If it's a team activity,
whether it's an orchestra...
Or a football team...
Or a hockey team
or a group of acrobats,
they have to have
that sense of comfort.
It's not just you out there.
The people are going to do
what they are supposed to do.
It's always a balance between
discipline and spontaneity.
One part of the
impulse in any sport
is to explore
the range of your own limits.
To be the best you can be,
so you have to wonder
whether we're
reaching the limits of that.
I mean, there is, after all,
only so high people will
be able to jump.
It's not gonna carry on
getting higher,
we're now dealing with
fractions of fractions.
The athletes are better today.
They're just bigger
and stronger and better.
Doesn't make them smarter.
What do we want
to get out of sports?
Do we want to
see someone dunking on
a 20-foot rim
or do we want to see,
under some set of
normal circumstances,
the best that people can do?
If the ultimate outcome of
professional sports
is always just
to become number one of whatever
price you pay to get there.
Then you begin to wonder
whether the whole
spiritual basis of
these guys are being
hollowed out in
the process of winning
a game the people are
losing interest in.
Where do we draw the-- I think,
it's going to be an emotional
line that you draw.
What do we have?
We might try to logic it out,
but I think, it's going to be
when do we have the emotional
recoil to where we are now?
We are not robots.
We're people who are
driven by feelings
and inspiration
and a sense of possibility.
Creativity is
the essence of humanity.
That it's not an incidental
part of being human,
but it's distinctively human.
What we do is we put
the child into the corridor
of this grade system and they
go to kindergarten, you know.
That's a great thing
because when you
finish that,
you get into first grade
and then come on, first grade
leads to the second grade
and so on.
Then you get out of grade
school, you go to high school,
then you're going
to go to college
and then you get
into graduate school.
And when you're through
with graduate school,
you go out to join the world.
Then, you get into some racket where you're selling insurance.
All the time, the thing is coming.
It's coming, it's coming,
that great thing, the success you're working for.
Then when you wake up
one day about 40 years old,
you say, "My God, I've arrived. I'm there." You don't feel very
different from
what you always felt.
There's a slight letdown because you feel there's a hoax.
And there was a hoax,
a dreadful hoax.
They made you miss everything.
We thought of life by
analogy with a journey,
with a pilgrimage, which had
a serious purpose at the end.
The thing was get to that end.
Success or whatever it is
or maybe heaven
after you'redead,
but we missed the point,
the whole way along.
It was a musical thing
and you were supposed to
sing or to dance while
the music was being played.
People have immense deep talents
that are often overlooked by
the systems that are designed to
educate them or
take care of them.
It's like there
are natural resources
that are much
deeper than we realize.
There are multifarious
factors on whether or not people
achieve what they
achieve when they achieve them.
And the ones we know about are
the ones whose talents came to
fruition because the conditions
prove to be favorable for them.
But how many other
people could achieve
similar things
if the condition is right?
How many Mozarts
and Gretzkys are there?
You just don't know.
I got lucky the era played in.
I got lucky the style that I was
playing in and I got
really lucky with
the coaching that I had
and more importantly,
the players I played with.
All that combined to be
a perfect storm,
as simple as that.
Do you think
that if you're destined
to be great,
you're going to be great?
You're going to find
a way to make it happen.
- You think it's
your will?
-A combination of luck
and your will. You got to
be a little lucky.
It's great.