“OMG! We Could Lose This”: 41 Years After Iconic Michael Jordan Shot, Former Coach Unveils Details of the Era Defining Timeout

Published 09/27/2023, 11:30 AM EDT

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A regular fan often overlooks the importance of a coach on a basketball team. Every team needs a good coach who can guide their teams to the promised land. Their impact is never on the stat sheet but will remain etched in the minds of the players. Michael Jordan, in his playing career, had some of the best coaches ever. During his time at the University of North Carolina, Dean Smith was at the helm.

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Years after winning the first NCAA championship, a former assistant coach of the UNC shared how a crucial timeout from Dean Smith changed the trajectory of their match.

How a timeout changed history for Michael Jordan and his Tar Heels

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In the newest episode of the Chin Music Podcast, the special guest was the legendary college coach, Roy Williams. He was talking about his time as an assistant coach at UNC in 1982. Dean Smith was the head coach at the time. Though he had won an Olympic gold medal, he was yet to win an NCAA championship.

Roy Williams revealed during the podcast that he believed that in 1982, they had the best team in the NCAA, with a 19-year-old Michael Jordan. The championship game was extremely close. With 54 seconds left on the clock, Georgetown took the lead and were up by 1 point.

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This made Dean Smith call for a timeout. As the players came to the bench, Williams noticed the defeated look on the players’ faces, including Michael Jordan’s. On recalling his thoughts at the time, Williams said, “Oh my God! We might lose this game.

Dean Smith kneeled down in the huddle and told the players, “We are exactly where we wanted to be. We are going to dictate the outcome of the game.”

Williams was surprised to hear this, the Tar Heels were down 1 with 32 seconds left in the game. Smith explained to them how to find an opening.

 

He mentioned that the lob threat might be taken out, so he turned to Mike and said that if he gets the shot, then take it.

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The beginning of Jordan’s confidence

Dean Smith also mentioned the possibility of Jordan missing the shot and where everybody should be positioned to go for the rebound. This changed the look on everyone’s faces, and they went out for their final possession of the game. Of course, we all know what happened after the timeout.

Jordan received the ball and made the shot, which put North Carolina up by 1. In the final moments, Georgetown had an unfortunate turnover. This led to Dean Smith and Michael Jordan winning their first NCAA championship.

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This was one of the earliest moments in Jordan’s career that put him on the map. In an interview before his retirement from the league, he reminisced about this shot. Years later, Jordan revealed that was his favorite moment in his basketball career.

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Written by:

Rijin Varghese

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Rijin is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the NBA for over a decade. He likes to learn about the nuances of sports, understand every player's contribution to a team, and also learn the logic behind player signings and team building.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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