Like Steve Jobs, Jordan would not suffer fools gladly, would "bully" team-mates, had laser-focus etc. Had a good wingman in the form of Pippen (Tim Cook). Yet one cannot fault him for his many accomplishments. He rose to the occasion time and again (how many times have we seen him take the buzzer-beater?), and had an admirable work ethic.
As the saying goes "haters gonna hate". The fact is that Jordan, Steve Jobs, and many other people changed their respective industries and beyond. Jordan not only changed professional sports, but also sports management and sports equipment marketing. Steve Jobs' achievements probably need no introduction.
Yes, your egotistical ways might lead you to win in your field but don't expect the people you ran over to all of the sudden see the light and respect you as a person. You can respect a persons accomplishments while also despising who they are as a human being.
About a person's qualities as a human being: I feel there isn't much need to pass judgment on others, whether they are celebrities or not. Each of us are also humans and are also prone to our own lapses of judgment, integrity etc. That's what we are. Otherwise we'd all be saints and life would be predictable and boring. :)
There was a time in the 90s where there was all this talk about being a "role model" and Barkley famously got into trouble for it. It's touching on exactly the same issues. And I agree with Barkley: that parents should be the ones bringing up their offspring, not the media,entertainers, sports/tech heroes et al.
Coming back on topic: I respect Jobs for the things he'd done, to "push the human race forward". He was a giant, and my opinion is that the world became a better place for it. You're free to disagree (refer to RMS's stance), but that doesn't mean my own opinion is any less valid, and I'm sticking with it. :)
And I also add Bill Gates to that list as well. His enemies were more competitors than personal but he has gathered a lot of bad will over the years. But he was able to place computers in a lot of homes at a reasonable price. He sacrificed a lot of good will in the tech community to accomplish that.
As far as ego is concerned, that's basketball. It is probably the most individualistic team game out there. A single player can and does win games. A great player must believe they are going to hit every shot they take so that they don't have any fear when taking that last shot. Jordan certainly recognized he wasn't perfect and used that as even more motivation:
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed. -Michael Jordan
And finally, how Jordan is acting during the lockout is completely expected. He was once a player, then an ex-player and now that he owns 80% of the Bobcats, he is an owner.
Just be yourself. You don't really have a choice in the matter. You are you. You can only be you. If you try to graft aspects of somebody else's personality onto your own, you will find that it's a rather futile effort. You can't. Find out who you truly are, discover yourself, and then embrace yourself in the fullest sense. You can be a better you, but you can't be somebody else. If that means you don't end up a minor celebrity, c'est la vie.
Please justify the above statement. How could you possibly know that? What is to say that these people would not have gone to achieve even greater heights if it had not been for their bad qualities? There is something incredibly depressing about this attitude that pretty much states that it's okay to be a complete and utter jerk if you have achieved some level of success. Maybe it's cool to say that because it's counter-cultural thing or maybe we as a society have reached a state where people have a knee jerk tendency to apotheosize those who are successful and explain away their flaws as somehow critical to their success (also read the Mark Pincus stuff to further observe this phenomenon). Either way it's depressing.
Then again, maybe not. Petulance isn't the worst thing a person can be. If that's the character flaw somebody clings to in their old age, they're probably not entirely bad. Screwing over Woz was much worse, but he was in his twenties, and twentysomethings barely count as human beings. (I say this as a twentysomething myself.)
Please provide an example of a single billionare or minor celebrity who isn't an asshole. The fact that you can't is evidence enough.
> There is something incredibly depressing about this attitude
What is really depressing is that you feel your life isn't worthwhile unless you are incredibly "successful" and you define success as being filthy rich or being a minor celebrity or really a clone of Steve Jobs/Bill Gates/Larry Ellison/etc. I know myself. I know that I don't have the qualities necessary to be that and knowing that has relieved me of any desire to have that.
More than that, that single realization has allowed me to focus on the qualities I do possess! It has allowed me to become a more supportive leader. My team will never make the next google.com or iphone. That's ok. Instead, they'll have families and they'll spend time with them. They'll do amazing work! Just not on a scale that will earn me billions. That's fine by me!
What about Warren Buffett?
It is very easy to trash another person. As an example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Buffett#Personal_life and see the wonderful letter he penned his grandchild.
That's not the point.
The point is that all of my experience tells me that you really have to be an asshole and stand on the backs of others to get that far. Nobody is born nor becomes such a savant that people shower you with billions of dollars. You have to be smart, devious, aggressive, and abrasive. That just isn't me. It's not you either. That's OK.