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From the 4 Corners of the World: The Legacy of Dean Smith
“There is not one single thing I could ever tell you about Dean Smith that would do that man justice.” -John Thompson
NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-I am going to upset some people with this article.
But, I have to keep it real.
Therefore, for those die-hard Carolina fans, I am not a devil-worshipper, which means, I am not a Duke Blue Devils fan.
With that said, first and foremost, I would like to give my condolences to the Smith family during their time of loss and grief, along with all of the athletes, who Dean Smith coached in the past, as well as his extended Carolina Blue family.
However, despite Smith’s unlimited wisdom and wins, which in his legendary career, totaled 879, along with 13 ACC Championships, he did not, I repeat, did not create the “four corners.”
Sorry Tar Heel fans…
But, I won’t allow this lie to linger on even in death, especially during Black History Month.
Why? Because, as the Adolph Hitler stated, ‘If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.’
So, therefore, let me nip this in the bud, now…before another generation of ballers, are misled by the mainstream media, like NBC’s News anchor Brian William did this week, with his claims of being forced down by snipers, while flying in a helicopter in Iraq?
Yes, despite, what ESPN is reporting, Coach McLendon pioneered basketball’s full court game, using such strategies as the full court press, the full court zone (now known as the zone press), the open center offense whose variants include the “four corners,” the rotating pivot, and the double-pivot, according to www.nccueaglepride.com.
I suggest that all of you non-believers, who adorn Carolina Blue to watch the film “Black Magic,” which is a remarkable four-hour documentary directed by Dan Klores and produced by Earl Monroe, Libby Geist and David Zieff, which oddly enough aired on ESPN.
And, even though, I respect Smith for being the first coach to desire to integrate ACC Basketball, by recruiting Charlie Scott in 1966, when the University of Chapel Hill was as racist as any other southern school in the south, in order to collect a lot of wins and establish UNC as an economic and athletic powerhouse.
I, however, feel terrible that with Scott becoming the first African-American scholarship player at North Carolina, recruited by Dean Smith, that other top-notched Black athletes followed his lead, which literally destroyed Historical Black Colleges and Universities leverage to recruit them.
The Legendary Coach Clarence “BigHouse” Gaines’s, who coached basketball at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) from 1946 to 1993, where he compiled up 828 wins, eight CIAA titles, and one Division II NCAA Championship 1967, which made the Rams the first basketball program from a historically Black college or university to capture an NCAA national championship, wife Clara Gaines, seemed to have agreed with me when she said,
“In the end we just all wish that integration hadn’t taken place. Because it did change things.”
Yes, with Black athletes like Scott going to UNC, with the help of Smith, college basketball did change, whether for the better or the worse, depending on your vintage point.
Honestly, in my opinion, it was a freshman from Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C. named Michael Jordan, who made Smith a household name in 1982.
“He was more than a coach,” Jordan said in a statement. “He was my mentor, my teacher, my second father.”
Despite coaching NBA Hall-of-Fame players like Michael Jordan, Bob McAdoo, James Worthy, and Billy Cunningham, Smith was only able to mustard up two NCAA Titles, which, in my opinion, were by default.
I am not hating.
I know, a win is a win.
But, let’s remember, the 1982, UNC Championship victory came at the hand of Georgetown point guard Fred Brown, who blindly tossed the ball to James Worthy in the closing seconds.
My point is, if it wasn’t for these two odd plays, Smith would have gone title-less, despite all of his alleged basketball brilliance.
Therefore, maybe the headline that read, “Smith was a better man than coach..,” is true after all.
I am just saying…..
Rest in Peace Coach Smith.
May your spirit live on, in the Dean Dome, in North Carolina, and around the “four corners of the world,” thanks to Dr..John McLendon.
Eric D. Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he earned a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of BASN, where his thought-provoking articles appear on a daily basis. To contact him e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org