Tar Heels Alum Michael Jordan Reacts to Retirement of Legendary Coach Roy Williams

Published 04/02/2021, 6:09 AM EDT
Basketball player Michael Jordan clenches his fist while sitting on the bench during a game at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. (Photo by © Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)


Yesterday, college basketball saw one of its most successful and legendary coaches, Roy Williams, bid adieu to the game. After serving as an assistant coach for legendary teams like the Michael Jordan-led Tar Heels and as a head coach to other great teams, Williams called it quits on basketball.

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In his 33 years as a head coach, Williams had a staggering total of 903 wins and became a three-time NCAA champion.

Michael Jordan congratulates Roy Williams

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Before starting his career as a head coach, Roy had a plethora of experience as an assistant coach. He started off as an assistant coach in 1978 under another legendary coach, Dean Smith.

During his time as an assistant coach, Williams came across many legendary players, but none of them were even close to Michael Jordan’s talent. MJ might not have been his best self with the Tar Heels, but he certainly showed glimpses of what he would do in the near future.

Jordan recently spoke about the legendary coach. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, MJ said, “To choose your own path, to walk away from the game when he wants. It’s great he now gets to spend more time with his children and grandchildren.”

His Airness‘ even explained how Williams’ departure impacted him and said, “I’m sad that he’s leaving because he has meant so much to basketball.”

Jordan also revealed that his father and Williams shared a close bond and said, “He and my father formed an unbelievable bond that meant so much to me.”

If not for coaches like Roy Williams, the world might not have seen a young Michael Jordan push himself to his limits to become the best in the world. The departure of a massive presence like Williams will certainly leave its mark.

Roy Williams shares a Jordan anecdote

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Michael Jordan is undoubtedly one of the biggest personalities in the game of basketball. So when Netflix released ‘The Last Dance‘ series, it wasn’t a surprise when Williams made an appearance in the same.

While MJ might have dominated the league since his debut, college ball was in a different ballpark altogether. But Jordan had the same hunger to be the best in college as well.

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In an appearance in the docu-series, the legendary coach shared an anecdote about the same, and said, “Michael Jordan tells me one day he wants to be the best player to ever played here. And I said, ‘Well you got to work harder than you did in high school. He said, ‘I worked as hard as everybody else’ I said, ‘excuse me, I thought you just told me you want to be the best player to ever play here.’ Then he said, ‘I will show you nobody will ever work as hard as I work.'”

Jordan worked tirelessly over his rookie season, even scoring a title-clinching shot for the Tar Heels. In the next two years, MJ went from strength to strength and cemented his legacy as one of the best college basketball players ever.

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Aditya Mohapatra

1181 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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