Michael Jordan is the best basketball player to ever play the game, and that statement cannot be questioned if the big picture is looked at. He was a legend with the North Carolina Tar Heels in college, and had an absolutely amazing career with the Chicago Bulls as well. In a recent interview he was asked whether he’d take Dean Smith or Phil Jackson as his head coach if he had to pick for one game, and he made it very clear that his choice would be Smith.
“Dean Smith. Dean Smith helped me become the basketball player I am today. Phil was lucky because I was taught the game by Dean Smith,” Jordan said.
Obviously that was a very emphatic answer from Jordan that shows just how highly he thinks of Smith. There is no denying that Jackson is one of the best coaches to ever coach the game, but Smith was an absolute legend. He knew how to motivate his players and get the most out of them, and had a career that current coaches dream of having.
Smith finished his coaching career with a 879-254 record, which rounds out to being a 77.6 winning percentage. He won two national championships with the Tar Heels, and every single player that went through North Carolina considered him a friend and father figure in addition to being their head coach.
There is no question that Jackson has gotten lucky with the superstars that he has coached in his career. Being able to inherit Jordan from a coach like Smith made things much easier for him. Kobe Bryant was a bit of a different story, but Shaquille O’Neal was already a superstar when he joined Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers as well.
It is always good to hear Smith’s former players come out and talk about him like Jordan did here. He didn’t say all that much about why he would take Smith, but the words show exactly what Jordan thought of him. This is just one of the more interesting comments that Jordan has put out in the media, and it is worth reading and enjoying as we all look back on the amazing career that Smith put together.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports