For the love of The Game

Number 23 - Michael Jordan - was and is the greatest basketball player the world has ever known. He will likely never be surpassed in his greatness. How did he get to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time)? His contracts always included a “love of the game” clause. It gave him the right to do whatever he saw as necessary to hone and improve his basketball skills during the off season.

Back in the time frame when Michael dominated the NBA hardwood, general managers of NBA teams tried to prevent players under contract to them from playing in summer leagues and from playing pick up games with other NBA players; the fear was that an athlete could suffer an injury during these unauthorized games that could derail their season or even end their NBA career.

Michael always had his “love of the game” clause (at least up until the 1990s when the NBA collective bargaining agreement came on the scene) that allowed him to circumvent the restrictions that his team managers tried to enforce. He knew full well that he could not simply not play basketball for months on end and have any realistic hope of improving his game; this is something that some team managers did not grasp.

Every off season, Michael would inevitably return to his alma mater - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - to hone his skill set. He would play in the pick up games with and against other NBA greats of his era that he and Jerry Krause who was general manager of the Chicago Bulls butted heads over so often. Michael took the heat from his boss and took on the calculated risks that came with informal off season games. He sacrificed and worked obsessively to improve - for the love of the game.

As photographers, what do we do for the love of the game of photography? What risks do we take? What sacrifices do we make in order to improve? Do we understand that we need to photograph regularly and consistently in order to hone our skill set and improve? do we work obsessively behind the scenes to get better at making images?

Do we make creating new images and just doing a walkabout with our camera for some relaxed shooting two of our highest priorities? Do we remember and honor Dorothea Lange’s admonition that “One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind?”

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