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Georgia coach Kirby Smart admitted he is a Michael Jordan fan.

The Michael Jordan quote that sums up what Georgia football is about to attempt

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The Michael Jordan quote that sums up what Georgia football is about to attempt

As Kirby Smart took a rare moment to actually celebrate his accomplishment, he held three fingers in the air as ran past Georgia fans in SoFi Stadium.

Georgia had just won its second consecutive national championship, but Smart was already envisioning Georgia winning a third-straight national championship.

“Ah that was just my Jordan,” Smart told ESPN’s Rece Davis about the gesture. “I grew up watching Jordan and we always talked about when he used to do that. He was pretty special in my generation. [For kids now] it was Kobe, LeBron and much respect to all those guys. But my era it was Jordan and watching him do that after championships it just kinda told you that his mindset is ‘we’re not stopping.’”

Most of the players on Georgia’s team are in fact Kobe or Lebron fans. James never three-peated, while Bryant did so as a member of the Lakers from 2000 through 2002. Of course, Bryant wasn’t the best player on those teams, as that distinction belongs to Shaquille O’Neal.

Jordan was unquestionably the best player when his Chicago Bulls accomplished the feat in both 1993 and 1998. That he did it twice speaks to why Jordan is considered the greatest basketball player of all time, even as James closes in on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record.

In the Jordan documentary The Last Dance, Jordan spoke about all it took for him to get the Bulls to where he did. It was not easy and came at a great personal cost.

But in the seventh episode of the documentary, Jordan brilliantly explains why he was able to three-peat twice. And illustrate why what Georgia is about to do is so difficult.

“Winning has a price. Leadership has a price. I pulled people along when they didn’t want to be pulled,” Jordan said. “I challenged people that didn’t want to be challenged. And I earned that right because my teammates who came after me, they didn’t endure all that I endured. Once you join the team, you lived at a certain standard that I played the game. And I wasn’t going to take anything less.

“Now if that means I had to go in and get in your ass a little bit, then I did that.”

Related: How Georgia football became the toughest team in college football: ‘It’s not built for everybody’

That sounds an awful lot like something Smart would say, right down to preaching about the standard.

While no team in the modern era has won three-straight national championships, a few teams have gotten close. And all three teams similarly ran out of gas at the end. In 1996, Nebraska entered conference championship weekend as the No. 3 team in the country after having won national titles in 1994 and 1995. But an upset loss to an unranked Texas team prevented the Cornhuskers from playing for a third-straight national championship.

In 2005, USC looked to win a third straight title. It split with LSU in 2003 before going unbeaten in 2004. The Trojans had Matt Lienart and Reggie Bush in the same backfield, along with a host of other pros. The problem is that in the national championship game, Texas had Vince Young and the Longhorns once again thwarted a three-peat.

Smart was on the sidelines of the last team to attempt a three-peat, as he served as Alabama’s defensive coordinator in 2013. The Crimson Tide carried an 11-0 record into the final week of the regular season, needing a win at Auburn to punch its ticket to the SEC championship game.

But then the Kick-6 happened and the Crimson Tide’s championship hopes were dashed. Alabama followed up the loss to Auburn with a defeat to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl as well.

Georgia will be doing everything in its power to make sure it doesn’t falter at the finish line, as has been the case with some other teams.

Related: Georgia football three-peat talk ‘definitely legit,’ departing team captain Chris Smith reveals why

Even at the NBA level, Jordan and Bryant had some close calls in winning their third-straight titles. Bryant needed the help of some dubious officiating to beat the Sacramento Kings in the 2002 Western Conference Finals, while Jordan needed seven games to beat Reggie Millers’ Pacers in the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals.

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