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July 30th, 2012
01:25 PM ET

Michael Phelps on Michael Jordan: "He came out every single night on the court and did what he had to do...that's what champions do"

Coming up this evening at 9 p.m., "Piers Morgan Tonight" welcomes one of the most-decorated Olympic athletes in history, 16-time medal winner Michael Phelps.

Joining Piers Morgan as he prepares for his third games, the 27-year-old swimming legend is asked to extend his thinking outside of the pool, as the host dives in with a deeper, and broader question:

"Who are your sporting idols?" Morgan asks the man so similarly described by others.

"Michael Jordan," responds Phelps, nearly as quickly as he executes one of his trademark flip turns. "He changed the sport of basketball in my eyes. On and off the court, the guy made basketball what it is. And, you know, what he did."

What the basketball Hall of Famer did, was rewrite the history of his craft, much in the same way Phelps is doing with his. A six-time NBA champion, and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Jordan's overall talent was rivaled only by his overwhelming will to win, a trait not lost on the equally-competive Phelps:

"I think one of the coolest things that I loved about him was it didn't matter what he had going on off the court or if he was sick or this, that. He never used an excuse," explains the man who has twice tied the record with eight medals of any type at a single Olympics. "He came out every single night on the court and did what he had to do to get his job done. That's what champions do. It doesn't matter what else is going on when you walk in to your arena, whatever you excel at, you’re there to take care of the job that you have to do."

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, then tune in at 9 p.m. for a candid conversation with the man who finds himself a mere three medals away from becoming the winningest athlete in Olympic history.
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  1. rose macaskie

    You are promoting the tremendous drive of atheletes and yet, as you say, your son is not having that life style and if you asked yourself why not i think the answer would be that you wanted him to be more balanced and to have a wider range of abilities than your common sense tells you that atheletes training is likely to give a child. Probably much as you want them to bring home a gold what you really desire, first and foremost, is the sort of mantal ability and social graces that were evident in the interveiw between the mayor of london and john stewart both of which have a high level of conversational dexterity and might not what you truly principly want for your sons be what is truly valuable and so that if you admited as much instread oof supporting this high acheivement stuff so undividedly, you would be doing a service to society.
    Michel Phelps when you talked about his relating to people, in the interveiw and ill child, looked pretty well rounded but I bet that at rock bottom you doubt if the majority of atheltes can be well rounded, if people whose world has been so focused on only one part of life have really been well educated.
    Parent often tie their children up in knots, there is what in theory the parent wants for their child and then there is what the child perceives, from knowing their parents, to be what the parents really like and it is the second the children may try harder at and then parents think their children are not trying for them when they fail in what ostensibly the parents demand.
    You asked about the ego of the basket ball player and how the trainers deal with it. On one hand, famouse people must get a bit vain but on the other, these are people who have spent years doing team work and being heavily indoctrinated by one trainer or another,, and by the footbal assocaition I suppose they are not hte sort of person that holds out as strongly as some for their own way but people who are used to giving way to the demands of others, for ego take someone like Morhino who is used to finding ways to be obeyed and getting people to obey. The people who are hard to be with are those taught that they should dominate others, they are the really intrasient ones, if bosses, men for example, have a temper fit, it is only natural that they should be pushing the group on with their anger or that the stresses of their position make them blow up, while if a woman gets tempramental and demanding, then she is termed a spoilt creature and prima dona-ish. In human society people are kept in their place by the application of unatractive adverbs to those who move out of heirrachal boundaries. It is just the bosses whose ego you should fear, not the member of the teams ego that is likely enough to lack the instruments that make an ego fearsome. rose macaskie madrid.

    July 31, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. rose macaskie

    Bye the bye, I like the way you bring out different bits of phelp's nature. rose macaskie madrid

    July 31, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Argle Bargle

    "Michael Phelps becomes most-decorated Olympian of all time with 19 medals"

    Ha ha ha to all you Phelps nay-sayers. You can kiss his Speedo-covered backside.

    July 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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