Michael Jordan's Pregame Superstition You've Probably Never Heard About

Celebrity status, as we know, can be tricky to quantify or explain. People can go viral and so become famous overnight, through no discernible achievement or talent of their own. If you've got a social media account and a pet that can perform an entertaining and unique trick, you can become famous simply through your connection to Lord Whiskerton III. After all, Merriam-Webster defines celebrity as "the state of being celebrated," and you'd certainly qualify.

Who, though, is truly worthy of celebration? Athletes may have ludicrously inflated salaries (and, often, egos to match), but there's no denying that sporting icons tend to become such for a reason. They are truly masters of their craft, and honing their bodies, minds and talents for innumerable hours of training.

There is perhaps no bigger sporting name than Michael Jordan. In 2015, The Guardian reported that he appeared on Forbes magazine's annual list of billionaires for the first time, making history for a U.S. athlete. Though his basketball record speaks for itself, Jordan didn't get there through sheer talent alone. He had a curious little superstition that he indulged in before games, which could very well have helped his career along as well.

Michael Jordan's probably-pricey prematch superstition

In almost any sport, things will often come down to chance. A refereeing decision could decide the ultimate course of a match, an all-important shot on goal could miss by half an inch, a terribly-timed injury could take a vital player out of action. Of course, for the opposing side, these sorts of things can be blessings, but even the world's greatest athletes will find themselves relying on a little luck at times.

From up-and-coming talents to the most seasoned veterans, many players have taken steps to try and remedy this. In the hopes of fortune smiling upon them, they devise little rituals and superstitions to form part of their pregame preparations. They can be simple things like wearing a particular color of boots, but they can also be elaborate and rather strange. Per Athletics Weekly, Kevin Rhomberg "refused to turn right while running and had a compulsion to touch anyone who had touched him."

The eminent Michael Jordan, meanwhile, had a rather more low-key superstition in which he liked to indulge before a game: He would, according to The Sports Rush, don a brand-new pair of shoes for each match.

Jordan's superstition was on the milder side

While many players, professional and amateur, have lucky shoes, gloves, and other pieces of sports paraphernalia, others might refuse to wear other items of their kit again, deeming them unlucky. Michael Jordan, with this little superstition of his own, could handily sidestep the risk of unlucky clothing. That's not why he did it, though, according to the man himself.

Speaking on NBA 2K14's "Michael Jordan Uncensored: Part Two" (via HipHopGamer on YouTube), Jordan confirmed, "I always wore a brand-new pair of shoes every game." Explaining why he did this, he reminisced about the feeling of putting on a new kit, a new pair of shoes, for the first time: "... you feel energetic, you feel like you've got something to showcase. I wanted that feeling every game."

Over the course of his remarkable career, there were few opportunities to accuse him of lacking energy, so perhaps he was right.

In Athletics Weekly, sports psychology consultant Dr Josephine Perry goes on to state that some athletes' superstitions can be harmful, for two primary reasons: "you limit your flexibility to respond to the environment around you, which means that anything unpredictable might throw you off kilter. Secondly, it means that other athletes can use your superstitions against you to disrupt your performance."

Jordan's own ritual, it seems, was rather mild, and certainly didn't seem to hamper his ability.