Michael Jordan Sunday released a statement on the passing of his former college coach at the University of North Carolina, Dean Smith, in which he referred to Smith as a mentor, a teacher and his second father.
"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."
Jordan played for Smith for three seasons at North Carolina before graduating to the NBA and completing one of the most decorated careers in sports history. He averaged 17.7 points per game during his time as a Tar Heel, was a two-time consensus first team All-American, and was on Smith's 1982 NCAA Championship team.
Smith, who died Saturday night, was 83 years old. --- Will Green
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