Michael Jordan releases statement on passing of Dean Smith

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Legendary former University of North Carolina head coach Dean Smith passed away on Saturday at the age of 83.

Smith was the coach of the Tar Heels from 1961 to 1997, and retired as college basketball’s all-time wins leader. He led this team to national championships in 1982 and 1993, and made 11 Final Four appearances.

He also was coach to many NBA stars, including Michael Jordan, who released the following statement on Sunday:

“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.”