Profile of a Legend: Dean Smith

They say everything is connected, and perhaps it’s true.

James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 and founded the University of Kansas basketball program. While there, he coached Phog Allen, who later took over the legendary Kansas program and won the 1952 NCAA Tournament with none other than Dean Smith playing on the team.

Smith later became one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history. He’s also the guy who recruited and coached Michael Jordan.

Incredible, right?

What’s more incredible is that Smith believed so much in the importance of education that during his 36 years, only 7 players left early for the NBA. Those that left had to promise they would one day finish their degree, and three did, including Michael Jordan.

If you find this fascinating, there’s a lot more to the story of Dean Smith. Checkout this forgotten ESPN feature to learn why he wasn’t just a great basketball coach but also a great man.

Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including and