Michael Jordan says Dean Smith ‘Was My Second Father’

Former University of North Carolina player and NBA standout Michael Jordan (L) kisses former University of North Carolina head coach Dean Smith during a ceremony honoring the 1957 and 1982 national championship teams at halftime of the NCAA basketball game between North Carolina and Wake Forest University in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in this file photo taken February 10, 2007. Smith, a legendary head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina whose proteges include NBA great Michael Jordan, has died at age 83, the university reported on its website on Sunday.  REUTERS/Ellen Ozier/Files
Former University of North Carolina player and NBA standout Michael Jordan (L) kisses former University of North Carolina head coach Dean Smith during a ceremony honoring the 1957 and 1982 national championship teams at halftime of the NCAA basketball game between North Carolina and Wake Forest University in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in this file photo taken February 10, 2007. Smith, a legendary head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina whose proteges include NBA great Michael Jordan, has died at age 83, the university reported on its website on Sunday. REUTERS/Ellen Ozier/Files

The basketball world is mourning the loss of iconic North Carolina Tar Heels coach Dean Smith, who died Saturday at the age of 83. Over the course of Smith’s legendary career, which included nearly 900 wins and two national championships, no pupil would go on to have a greater impact on the game than Michael Jordan, who came to Chapel Hill in 1981. Under Smith, Jordan would become a two-time first-team All-American and lead the Tar Heels to the 1982 title. On Sunday, Jordan remembered his mentor in a touching statement.

Via the Charlotte Hornets:

“Other than my parents, no one had a bigger influence on my life than Coach Smith. He was more than a coach – he was my mentor, my teacher, my second father. Coach was always there for me whenever I needed him and I loved him for it. In teaching me the game of basketball, he taught me about life. My heart goes out to Linnea and their kids. We’ve lost a great man who had an incredible impact on his players, his staff and the entire UNC family.”

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SOURCE: NICK SCHWARTZ
USA Today: For the Win

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