The Secret to Michael Jordan's Success: Lucky Underwear

Michael Jordan won six NBA championships, five MVP awards, and set the record for average points per game over the course of his professional basketball career. So, what was the secret to his success: hard work, raw talent ... or the lucky undershorts he wore since his days on the University of North Carolina team?

A recent study examined the effect of lucky objects on athletic performance:

The conclusion from these combined experiments was fairly obvious. "Activating a good-luck superstition," the authors wrote, "leads to improved performance by boosting people's belief in their ability to master a task." More precisely, they added, "the present findings suggest that it may have been the well-balanced combination of existing talent, hard training and good luck-underwear that made Michael Jordan perform as well as he did."

Read the full story at the New York Times.

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Entertainment

Just In