Year
1982
Month Day
March 29

Freshman Michael Jordan hits winning shot to give North Carolina NCAA title

On March 29, 1982, 19-year-old North Carolina freshman Michael Jordan makes a 16-foot jump shot with 15 seconds left to give the Tar Heels a 63-62 win over Georgetown for the NCAA Tournament championship. "To tell the truth," Jordan tells reporters in New Orleans afterward, "I didn't see it go in. I didn't want to look." The winning shot cements Jordan in the national consciousness, and he goes on to become one of the greatest basketball players in history, winning six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls.

After Jordan's basket, Georgetown's Fred Brown quickly brought the ball up court. But his pass to a teammate instead went to North Carolina's James Worthy, clinching the win for North Carolina. "I knew it was bad as soon as I let it go," Brown told reporters.

Even though only a freshman, Jordan showed the confidence that would be a trademark of his career. "I was thinking the game might come down to a last-second shot," he said. "I saw myself taking it and hitting it."

Georgetown was led by 7-foot center Patrick Ewing, who led all scorers with 28 points, and coach John Thompson, one of the best college basketball coaches of all time. He and North Carolina coach Dean Smith, also among the sport's top coaches of all time, were fast friends. The two embraced after the game.

The championship was North Carolina's first under Smith and first since it won its only previous title, in 1957. The Tar Heels finished the season with a 32-2 record. "We had the best basketball" team in the tournament, Smith told reporters. 

In the 1984 NBA draft, Jordan was selected by the Bulls with the third overall pick. The next year, Ewing was the No. 1 overall pick of the New York Knicks. As a Bull, Jordan would go torment Ewing and the Knicks, often blocking their road to an NBA championship. 

READ MORE: How a Canadian Invented Basketball

 

 

 

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