Michael Jordan Admits That Dean Smith Is The Reason He Becomes Great – I had all the ability in the world, but I didn’t know the game

Michael Jordan’s unparalleled success in the NBA is undeniable, yet his journey to greatness was undoubtedly shaped by influential mentors. While Jordan’s innate talent was evident, his time under the tutelage of North Carolina head coach Dean Smith played a pivotal role in honing his skills and shaping his understanding of the game. In a candid interview with Goheels.com, Jordan credited Smith for imparting invaluable wisdom and molding him into the player he became.

“Coming out of high school, I had all the ability in the world, but I didn’t know the game. Dean Smith taught me the game, when to apply speed, how to use your quickness when to use that first step, or how to apply certain skills in certain situations. I gained all that knowledge so that when I got to the pros, it was just a matter of applying the information. A lot of people say Dean Smith held me under 20 points a game. Dean Smith gave me the knowledge to score 37 points a game, and that’s something people don’t understand,” he said.

It’s truly remarkable when someone of Jordan’s stature humbly reflects on their path to greatness and recognizes the pivotal figures who guided them along the way. Despite his unparalleled success, MJ has consistently shown humility by acknowledging the profound impact of individuals like Smith on his development. This humble acknowledgment speaks volumes about Jordan’s character and serves as a testament to the importance of mentorship and learning in achieving one’s goals.

Michael Jordan on Dean Smith: 'He was my mentor, my teacher, my second father' | For The Win

Indeed, it’s fascinating to contemplate how Michael Jordan’s career might have unfolded if he hadn’t attended North Carolina and benefited from Dean Smith’s coaching. Without that elite collegiate experience, Jordan might have still possessed incredible natural talent, but his understanding of the game and his ability to apply strategic nuances might have developed differently. Perhaps he would have taken longer to reach his full potential in the NBA, or maybe he would have approached the game in a slightly different manner. Ultimately, it’s a compelling mental exercise that highlights the profound impact of mentorship and environment on an athlete’s trajectory.

Absolutely, Jordan’s formative years under Dean Smith undoubtedly played a crucial role in shaping his legendary career and should indeed be factored into the GOAT debate. While both Jordan and LeBron James have left indelible marks on the NBA landscape, Jordan’s foundation of mentorship and development at North Carolina adds a unique dimension to his legacy. It underscores the importance of nurturing talent and the impact of coaching in unlocking an athlete’s full potential. When comparing the greatness of Jordan and James, acknowledging the influence of mentors like Smith on Jordan’s journey becomes essential in understanding his unparalleled achievements and contributions to the game.

Statement From Michael Jordan on the Passing of Dean Smith | NBA.com

As the two players who the majority have as their top two players of all time, an aspect that is never considered in the debate is the fact that James never had the likes of Smith in his corner throughout high school and even in the NBA.

While Jordan had the luxury of developing under an all-time great coach in Smith, LeBron had to figure it out on his own. His basketball genius was primarily driven by his natural God-given basketball mind and an aptitude for learning the game.

Of course, there are other layers to the debate, but LeBron never having an elite coach prior to being a pro and even in the Association outside of Eric Spoelstra and half a playoff run with Tyronn Lue does matter when analyzing their careers and the opportunities they had to be in a position to be successful.

Nevertheless, Smith taught Jordan how to be an unstoppable offensive force, and he maximized the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest sporting minds that ever lived, which allowed him to have the upper hand in the conversation.