The world lost another hero today. The great Dean Smith, 83, passed away on Sunday (Feb. 7) morning. He died peacefully at his home as he was surrounded by his wife and five children, according to a statement by his family.

“We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as arrangements are made available to the public,” the statement said.

READ MORE: Remembering Dean Smith: Former Players, Others Share Memories

The legendary UNC coach is known as one of the most winningest in NCAA history. His legacy extends beyond the hardwood, however. He was also known for standing up for segregation, recruiting the first black scholarship player in the school’s history and pushing for integration in a post-Brown vs. Board America. Smith stood up for integrity and what’s right, and that’s why he’s missed.

Smith passed those core values onto his students — both coaches (George Karl, Billy Cunningham) and the players you’ll see below. Scroll down to see how far Smith’s greatness extends.


Michael Jordan

Stats: 17.7 Points Per Game, 5.0 Rebounds Per Game, 1.8 Assists Per Game

Biggest Game: 1982 NCAA Championship Game vs. Georgetown

If you’re reading this post, you know who Michael Jordan is. Perhaps less of you know that it was him who scored the game-winning jump shot in the championship game against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown. It wouldn’t be the first bit of glory Jordan robbed Patrick Ewing of.

James Worthy

Stats: 14.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.5 APG

Biggest Game: 1982 NCAA Championship Game vs. Georgetown

Before running with the Showtime Lakers, Worthy was the leading scorer of a 1981-82 team that included a freshman Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins. Worthy scored 28 points (with an outstanding 13-of-17 from the field) and four rebounds in their championship win.

Sam Perkins

Stats: 15.9 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.2 APG

Biggest Game: Mavericks vs. Warriors, April 12, 1990

Perkins wouldn’t go on to have an NBA career as great as Jordan and Worthy — but to be fair, those are high standards to live up to. He had three good seasons at UNC, and in 2002, he was named part of the ACC 50th Anniversary men’s basketball team.

Rasheed Wallace

Stats: 13.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 0.8 APG

Biggest Game: 

Wallace left UNC to become a respected player and an NBA fan favorite (“Ball Don’t Lie!”). He was great in his college days, too. ‘Sheed’s dramatic improvement from his freshman to sophomore helped push UNC to the Final Four in 1995.

Jerry Stackhouse

Stats: 15.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.3 APG

Biggest Game: Pistons vs. Bulls, April 3, 2001

Jerry Stackhouse was the leading scorer of the 1994-95 UNC team that made it to the Final Four. Unfortunately, they were done in by Arkansas (who were then beaten by UCLA in the championship).

Phil Ford

Stats: 18.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG

Biggest Game: UNC vs. Duke, Feb. 25, 1978

This is the player who helped turn UNC into a powerhouse. Ford pushed the Tar Heels to three straight first-place finishes in the ACC and two ACC tournament titles (1975, 1977). He was also the school’s career leader in points until 2008 (thanks, Tyler Hansbrough) and had the honor of being a member of the gold medal-winning USA 1976 Olympic team.

Charlie Scott

Stats: 22.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG

Biggest Game: 

Part of Smith’s legacy was pushing for desegregation. Scott, a Harlem-native, directly benefited from that by being recruited as UNC’s first scholarship African-American player. He led the Tar Heels in scoring during his two latter seasons before winning an NBA championship with the Celtics in 1976.

Antwan Jamison

Stats: 19.0 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 0.9 APG

Biggest Game: ACC Tournament Finals vs. Duke, March 8, 1998

“Reliable,” an adjective often used with condescension, was usually used when describing Jamison’s NBA career. He was way more than that for UNC. Jamison was a force during his junior year, when he averaged 22.2 PPG and 10.5 RPG. His defining moment came later that year, when he overcame a leg muscle injury to put up 22 points and 18 rebounds against Duke in the ACC Tournament. Very few could argue against him winning the tournament MVP.

Bob McAdoo

Stats: 19.5 PPG, 10.1 RPG

Biggest Game: 1972 NCAA Final Four vs. Florida State, March 3, 1972

McAdoo averaged 19.5 points per game, put up 10.1 rebounds per game and was named first-team All-American during his junior year at UNC. That year unfortunately ended with a Final Four loss to Florida State. He’d go on to do bigger things in the NBA, though. McAdoo won five championships: two as a player for the Lakers (1982, 1985), and another three as an assistance coach for the Miami Heat (2006, 2012-2013). The man is one of the greats, too. No one has averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds per game since McAdoo did so during the 1973-74 season — his second in the league.

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