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The Dagger

Video of Michael Jordan’s first collegiate basket at North Carolina

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

From his go-ahead shot in the 1982 national title game, to his foul-line jumper over Craig Ehlo in the 1989 NBA playoffs, to his NBA championship-clinching shot over Bryon Russell in 1998, it's easy to recall most of Michael Jordan's most noteworthy baskets.

One I hadn't seen before, however, surfaced on YouTube earlier this week.

The above video is from Jordan's first game at North Carolina in 1981, a 74-67 victory over fellow national power Kansas. It includes the introduction of Jordan in the Tar Heels' starting lineup, his first shot attempt and his first collegiate basket, a short baseline jumper made possible by his defender closing out too hard and getting beaten off the dribble.

The fact Jordan started his first game at North Carolina was notable because Dean Smith fancied the idea of starting freshmen about as much as crowd surfing in the Duke student section. Jordan was only the fourth Tar Heels player ever to start the opening game of his freshman season.

It's also funny to hear Jordan introduced as "Mike" rather than "Michael." The North Carolina media guide lists Jordan as "Mike," but enough people called him "Michael" that sports information director Rick Brewer asked the freshman from Wilmington which he preferred. Jordan said it didn't matter, so Brewer suggested Michael because the four-syllable name had a better ring.

Jordan wasn't an instant star at North Carolina, averaging a modest 13 points per game – third most on a loaded Tar Heels team that season. But but the time he scored 18 to help the Tar Heels defeat Houston in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament and sank the game-winning jump shot against Georgetown in the title game, the stage was set for Jordan's rise to superstardom.

(Thanks, Eye on College Basketball)

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