When Michael Jordan gives an athlete advice, they're likely to take it to heart, and it appears that's just what Dez Bryant has done.
ESPN reports that the NBA legend had a simple message for the Cowboys receiver to get the most out of his career:
NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan had some simple advice for Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant this offseason: Behave.
"The only thing he told me was 'stay out of trouble,''' Bryant said after Tuesday's practice at Valley Ranch. "Hearing it come from him … He is a strong voice. His opinion matters."
According to the report, Bryant signed a three-year deal with Jordan Brand apparel group and met with the former Bulls superstar during the All-Star weekend held in Houston this past year.
If you think Jordan's words didn't affect the 24-year-old, he has vowed to skip any salary for the first year of his contract. If he gets through that time unscathed, he will go ahead and receive compensation from the sports icon.
To give you just a sense of the name Bryant has made for himself—a remarkable athlete with far too many off-the-field extracurriculars—The Dallas Morning News reported some comments from NFL analyst Jamie Dukes who was running down his top young receivers on NFL Network's NFL AM show:
He is No. 3 on my list because this guy is a great football player. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s country strong – that’s basically the best way you can characterize what he’s able to do. He reminds me of Cris Carter with his hands, those mitts. That’s why he only needed four fingers when he hurt one of his fingers last year.
The praise stopped there because Dukes and co-host Mark Kriegel had a back-and-forth about his apparent "knucklehead-itis." Dukes said:
No, you can't cure that. Knucklehead-itis stems from life, it has nothing to do with things that happen on the field.
But this guy can do everything. The question becomes… the 'knucklehead-itis.' Can he stem those demons in the down time? That’s the question that’s going to keep this kid from greatness.
So we now wonder if this talented athlete, whose off-the-field incidents have been well documented (here's an example from CBS Dallas in 2012), is actually ready to leave the awful behind and embrace that "greatness."
Bryant certainly seems committed to do just that. He offered the following, via ESPN:
It just adds fuel to trying to do things great at all times. That's something you don't want to mess up. Now, I do pay attention to that, just because of the fact of who he is and what he is about. Everybody knows Michael Jordan is about his business, so that make you want to be about yours.
Now, we await the end result, hoping Jordan's words lead to a changed man on and off the field.
I guess we shouldn't be surprised, because Jordan is doing what he has always done: making those around him better.
Hit me up on Twitter for more NFL knuckleheadiness: Follow @gabezal
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