Skip to main content

The “first person to discover Michael Jordan” describes how North Carolina reacted to MJ

According to Roy Williams, you don’t really need to have an eye for a new prospect to notice a young Jordan, who was simply known as “Mike” at the time.
North Carolina Tar Heels guard Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

The legend, the myth, the greatest player of all time; nowadays, Michael Jordan walks into a room, and it's a story to tell. However, like any other NBA legend, MJ, too, was once just a basketball prospect.

The man who introduced Mike to North Carolina

There’s a great chance that whenever we watch Jordan documentaries, especially the older ones, the people who played a role in MJ’s formative years in the sport go through our minds only in passing. We can’t be blamed for that. However, knowing little things about our idol’s humble beginnings is always interesting—things such as who paved the way for him in North Carolina.

All Jordan fans know he played for UNC, and most of them credit Dean Smith as the man who first mentored MJ. But apparently, the “first person” who introduced him to the renowned university was actually Smith’s then-assistant coach Roy Williams.

According to Williams, you don’t really need to have an eye for a new prospect to notice a young Jordan, who was simply known as “Mike” at the time. And when he invited him to the North Carolina camp, everyone in his staff knew right there and then that Jordan was the real deal.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

I was the first person to really get excited about him,” Williams told Graham Bensinger in 2021. “When I got really excited about him, everybody else on our staff got to see him play during our basketball camp, and then it was… Everybody was all in, to say the least.

From Mike to Michael

At North Carolina, Jordan wasn’t the best Tar Heel on the squad as James Worthy was still there. Nevertheless, some were already impressed with Mike.

Just like a fairytale, the trajectory of Jordan’s career took a giant leap when he drained the winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Finals game against Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas in New Orleans.

According to the man himself, it was the turning point of his soaring career as people began acknowledging him as “Michael Jordan” from that point on.

Up until that point, nobody knew who I was,” Jordan said of his game-winning shot in 1982. “I was a college kid other than the university, and I was just known as Mike Jordan. When I hit that shot, my whole name became Michael Jordan. I think it resonated with a lot of people outside of UNC.

In 1984, the man known as Michael Jordan finally entered the league. The Chicago Bulls drafted him at No. 3 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Kenny Smith

"They don't value me" - Kenny Smith reveals how he cried after witnessing the abysmal culture of the Sacramento Kings

Kenny Smith details just how miserable the culture of the Sacramento Kings was, having spent 3 years with them

LeBron James & Kevin Durant

He's setting the bar for what an athlete can be, not everyone can do this" - Kevin Durant speaks on LeBron James' legacy and longevity

Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant recently praised Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James for his scoring ability, longevity and lasting NBA legacy

Chris Gatling in action during the 1996 season

"It turned out they were giving me the wrong amount of medication...I could've died" - Chris Gatling on surviving coma and brain surgeries

Unbelievably, Chris Gatling defied the laws of medicine and played in the NBA for more than a decade.

Jimmy-Butler-Bam-Adebayo-Kyle-Lowry

"He better be there" - Jimmy Butler demands Bam Adebayo be named as 2023 All-Star after producing career-best numbers

Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler subtly hints at how his teammate, Bam Adebayo deserves to be named an All-Star in the 2022-23 season

Kendrick-Perkins-Anthony-Davis-LeBron-James

"Lakers team is set up on championship or bust" - Kendrick Perkins buries all claims of LeBron James making way into 2023 MVP race

Former NBA Champions Tristan Thompson and Kendrick Perkins stand on parallel ends citing LeBron James’ inclusion in the 2023 MVP race.