"I was very fortunate to play sports. All the anger in me went out. I had to do what I had to do. If you stay angry all the time, then you really don’t have a good life." - Willie Mays

Let go of anger.

Apr. 23, 1954 - Hank Aaron hit the first of his 755 major league home runs

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In 1953 the Milwaukee Braves signed Hank Aaron to a major league contract and gave the slugger a Braves uniform with the number five. On April 13, Aaron made his major league debut and was hitless in five at-bats. On April 15, Aaron collected his first major league hit (a double) and inevitably hit his first major league home run on April 23. Over the next 122 games, Aaron batted .280 with thirteen homers before he suffered a fractured ankle on September 5. He then changed his number to 44, which would turn out to look like a “lucky number” for the slugger. Aaron would hit 44 home runs in four different seasons, and he hit his record-breaking 715th career home run off Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, who coincidentally also wore number 44.

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"You never want to go out with a loss but we have to use it as motivation." - Candace Parker

Learn from it and do better next time.

Apr. 21, 1996 - The Chicago Bulls end the regular season with NBA record 72-10

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The only team in NBA history to win 70 games or more in a single season.

With a lineup of Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Luke Longley, and perhaps the league’s best bench in Steve Kerr, Toni Kukoc, Bill Wennington, Jud Buechler, and guard Randy Brown the Bulls posted one of the best single-season improvements in league history and the best single-season record, moving from 47–35 to 72–10, which remains the best record in NBA history. Jordan won his eighth scoring title, and Rodman his fifth straight rebounding title, while Kerr finished second in the league in three-point shooting percentage. Jordan garnered the elusive triple crown with the regular season MVP, All-star Game MVP, and Finals MVP. Jerry Krause was named Executive of the Year, Phil Jackson Coach of the Year, and Kukoc the Sixth Man of the Year. Both Pippen and Jordan made the All-NBA First Team, and Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman made the All-Defensive First Team, making the Bulls the only team in history with three players on the All-Defensive First Team.

In addition, the 1995–96 squad holds several other records, including the best road record in a standard 41-road-game season (33–8), the all-time best start by a team (41–3), the longest home winning streak (44 games, 7 from previous season), and the best start at home (37–0). The Bulls also posted the second-best home record in history (39–2), behind only the 1985–86 Celtics 40–1 home mark, and the second-best point differential in history, trailing the 1972 Lakers by 3 points over the course of an entire season. The team triumphed over Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and the Seattle SuperSonics for their fourth title. The 1995–96 Chicago Bulls are widely regarded as one of the greatest teams in the history of basketball.

In the 1996–97 season, the Bulls narrowly missed out on a second consecutive 70-win season by losing their final two games to finish 69–13. They repeated their home dominance, going 39–2 at the United Center. The Bulls capped the season by winning their fifth NBA championship over John Stockton, Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz. Jordan earned his second straight and ninth career scoring title, while Rodman earned his sixth straight rebounding title.

#MotivationalMondays

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson

Have A Great Week Everybody!

"Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability." - John Wooden

Wisdom from the Wizard of Westwood.

Apr. 20, 1986 - Air Jordan sets an NBA playoff record with 63 points in a game

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"I think," Larry Bird said after the game, “it’s just God disguised as Michael Jordan.”

Jordan was able to play in only 18 regular-season games in his second year in the NBA, after breaking a small bone in his foot in Chicago Bulls third game of the year. Although he was encouraged to sit out the end of the season in order to make sure he was fully healed for the next, he insisted on coming back late in the season and led the Bulls to the 1986 NBA Playoffs.

It was in Game 2 of Chicago’s first round matchup against the eventual NBA champion Boston Celtics that Jordan showed just how thoroughly he had recovered. In the hallowed halls of the Boston Garden, he set a playoff record by scoring an amazing 63 points against what many considered to be one of the greatest NBA teams ever. The Celtics won the game, 135-131 in double-overtime, and went on to sweep the Bulls, but Jordan’s playoff record still stands.

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"Don’t be afraid of failure. This is the way to succeed." - LeBron James

If at first you don’t succeed…

Apr. 19, 1991 - The Real Deal defeats Big George in 12 rounds for Heavyweight title

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The fight is perhaps best remembered for its memorable round 7. At the beginning of the round, Evander Holyfield was the aggressor, throwing several jabs as George Foreman stood back, seemingly waiting for an opportunity to land a powerful right hand. Seconds later, Holyfield missed with a left hook, which led to Foreman countering with a big right hook to Holyfield’s head. Foreman would then become the aggressor and continue his attack on Holyfield, landing several punches within the round’s first minute. As the second minute of the round began, Holyfield rebounded and proceeded to land a 15-second, multiple punch combination that staggered Foreman. Though Holyfield’s barrage of punches seemed to tire Foreman, he nevertheless was able to survive the remainder of the round without going down. This round was ultimately named “Round of the Year” by The Ring magazine.

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"Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication." - Mike Krzyzewski

Stay in the loop.

Apr. 18, 1995 - Joe Montana announced his retirement from the NFL

Joe Montana announced his retirement before a huge crowd at Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco. The event was broadcast live on local television, and included speeches from John Madden, Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., and others. Highlights from Montana’s stay with the San Francisco 49ers and interviews with former 49ers teammates were also shown. Bill Walsh served as the MC for the event. Montana’s replacement with the Chiefs was his former backup in San Francisco, Steve Bono. Super Bowl XXX would be dedicated to Montana, who ended the pregame ceremonies with the ceremonial coin toss.

"Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead." - Jackie Robinson

Full house.

April 17, 1997 - Martin Brodeur becomes the second NHL goalie to score in a playoff game

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In the first game of a first-round playoff matchup against the Montreal CanadiansMartin Brodeur fired the puck the length of the ice and into the Canadiens’ empty net to ensure a 5–2 victory. It was only the second time in NHL history that a goaltender had scored in the playoffs, and the fifth time overall. The New Jersey Devils went on to win that series, but lost in the second round to the rival New York Rangers.

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"It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen." - Muhammad Ali

Build a deep conviction.

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