Rams DT Aaron Donald drawing motivation from Michael Jordan
While the coronavirus pandemic has caused fans to long for sports to return, ESPN decided to release The Last Dance documentary, highlighting the journey of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. Similar to other people that watched the documentary, Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams drew motivation from Michael Jordan.
One of the ongoing narratives in the docuseries is that Jordan would push his teammates — sometimes too far — in an effort to win. In addition, Jordan would take even small slights personally to motivate himself. His way of motivating his teammates and himself caught the attention of Donald (via Kevin Modesti of the Los Angeles Daily News):
“To me, that’s motivational. Watching that gives you the chills. It makes you want to work out and do something to make yourself better … It made me want to be a champion. That’s what you play the game for.”
Since being drafted by the Rams in 2014, Donald has solidified himself as the best defensive player in the NFL. In just six seasons in the league, the All-Pro interior defender has combined for 72 sacks, 173 quarterback hits and 15 forced fumbles.
While Donald isn’t viewed as a vocal player in the way Jordan was, he’s allowed his play on the field to do the talking. Also, during the offseason, the dominant sack-artist hasn’t wasted any time getting himself into better shape.
So far in his career, Donald has earned six Pro Bowl appearances, five All-Pro nods and two Defensive Player of the Year Awards. But after watching The Last Dance, Donald may be motivated even more heading into the 2020 NFL season.