Michael Phelps on how similar he and Michael Jordan were

Michael Phelps talks to Yahoo Sports about how their competitiveness were exactly the same and how he was speechless the first time he met MJ.

You can see the rest of the Michael Phelps interview as part of Yahoo’s livestream event “Reset Your Mindset At Home” on May 20 at 4PM ET. Love joins thought leaders, newsmakers, and experts to discuss and share insights on overcoming adversity and living life to the fullest. Brought to you by Yahoo Life.

Video Transcript

MICHAEL PHELPS: MJ was everything growing up. That was the guy I wanted to be. I wanted to do in swimming what he did in the sport of basketball. In my opinion, he completely changed and grew the sport of basketball to an unbelievable place and heights, and that's really what I kind of replicated my career off of.

You know, and I think it's pretty wild watching him in this documentary because there are so many similarities to me. And, I guess, to put it quite blunt, everyone was saying he was an asshole, but I always say the same thing about myself. I was an asshole when I was training because I wanted-- I wanted to help everybody make sure they had the same exact chance that I had. We're all in there working together as a team, even though it's an individual sport. Like, we want-- we want the best for each other. So I'm going to challenge them, and I'm going to make sure that they're getting stress in practice that they're going to face in a meet.

You know, so there are just so many wild similarities, and I don't know. I mean, Jordan, the guy's the best.

The very first time I ever met him, I'll just never forget that day standing on the stage, and he came out. He came out of the curtain, and I was shocked. It was the first time that I didn't know what to say.

Everyone asked, like, when I finally would have a chance to meet MJ, like, what would I say? I was like, I don't know.


MICHAEL PHELPS: And I, like, completely just-- I don't know what to say.

I was totally surprised. I mean, like I was-- for me, I idolized him. So having the chance to get to meet him for me was just such an incredible experience. It's something I'll never forget.

I was like if ever meet Jordan, like, I'd have a hundred questions for him because that's how I was as a kid. Like, I was so eager to learn, and I just-- I wanted to get any piece of information that I possibly could get my hands on that can help me.

And I've had some times with him since then, and you just see a lot of similarities. You know, I see stuff with him and I. I see stuff with Peyton. I see stuff, you know, with all the greats-- Tiger. We have a lot of the same similarities in how we were able to get our job done.