Skip to main content

Dean Smith had an interesting way to keep Michael Jordan's ego in check

jordan and dean smith (1)

One of the main reasons behind Michael Jordan‘s greatness was that he was extremely coachable and always ready to learn and improve. Luckily for him, he always had great mentors in his life, and when it comes to his earlier basketball days, it was the legendary coach Dean Smith. Known as a great mentor, Smith taught Jordan how to play the game the right way, and fortunately for him, Jordan was willing to learn.

Even though they had a great relationship, Smith had to introduce different measures to keep everybody in check, and Jordan was treated the same as other players on the roster.

His former teammate at UNC, David Chadwick, remembers one specific practice when Smith saw Jordan not competing and participating as he should. At that time, Jordan was already a college superstar, and his ego was through the roof, which affected his performance in practice. Smith wanted to break his ego to get him back in check, and he most definitely succeeded.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

In 1983 Michael was full of himself and dogging it at practice. Dean Smith had a rule that if you dogged it, the whole team had to run extra. So Dean stopped the practice, put a chair in the middle of the floor, and told Michael to sit and watch while the rest of the team ran. I think that was the defining moment for Michael.

David Chadwick

There were numerous occasions in which Jordan shared his appreciation for coach Smith and everything he learned about the game and life itself. Coming to UNC, Jordan was a raw player, and Smith taught him how to develop his skillset and play within a system where every player has their role. He was also a mentor for him to keep him in check and humble at all times.

That was later seen in Jordan’s career, in which he never put himself in front of a team despite being the best individual player. Maybe this is something he learned that day back in 1983 when he tried to dodge his way out of practice, and Dean Smith had put him in check and showed him that he is not special.

LeBron James & Anthony Davis

JJ Redick explains why Anthony Davis isn’t the only reason for the Los Angeles Lakers' recent turnaround

While Anthony Davis has been great as of late, the real reason for the Lakers recent hot streak is because of their sudden ability to hit threes at a high level

Trae Young & Nate McMillan

Trae Young explains what happened behind his exchange with Nate McMillian that led him not to attend the last game for the Atlanta Hawks

Young acknowledged the incident between himself and McMillan, and it doesn't seem like the relationship between the player and coach is in a good spot right now

Shaquille O'Neal & Devean George

"Hell no, that's a lie, that's cap” - Devean George clears the air on sh*tty hazing story involving Shaquille O’Neal

Tyronn Lue once shared a hazing story involving Shaquille O'Neal's excrement and Devean George's shoe. But George called cap on the rumor

Shaquille O'Neal opens up about his biological father

How Shaquille O'Neal went from being sponsored by Reebok to becoming a part-owner in thirty years

Reebok CEO Todd Krinsky opens up about Shaq's rise to part-ownership of the company that sponsors him.

USA guard Kobe Bryant

"It was a breath of fresh air" — Kobe Bryant on his favorite part of playing in the Olympics

Many have been trying to imitate Kobe Bryant, but they're only mimicking one aspect of his game.

Utah Jazz guard Jeff Hornacek

"Just point at the basket" — how Jeff Hornacek became a great shooter thanks to his wife and Walter Davis

At first, Jeff Hornacek scoffed at his wife's advice. But he loved her ever more deeply when the ball started going in.