Michael Jordan

On this day in history, March 29, 1982: Michael Jordan hits winning shot in NCAA title game

It all began with a 16-foot jumper

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Michael Jordan was a largely unknown college basketball player up until March 29, 1982. The North Carolina freshman was averaging 13.5 points per game when he found himself in a huddle down 62-61 with 32 seconds left to play in the NCAA National Championship Game.

"Coach [Dean] Smith looked up at them and said, 'Guys, we're in great shape. This is exactly where we want to be. We're going to determine who wins this game.'" Roy Williams, then-assistant coach for the Tar Heels, said in an interview with current NBA player Danny Green in 2020.

The plan out of the timeout was find star forward James Worthy for the lob. Knowing Worthy, who already had 28 points, would likely be doubled, Smith grabbed Jordan and gave him the go-ahead to shoot.

"Coach Smith patted Michael on the backside and said, 'Michael, if you get the shot, knock it in,'" Williams recalled.

He did get the ball. And he sank a 16-foot jumper from the left side of the rim with 17 seconds left to play.

With a chance to win on the final possession, the Hoyas then committed a truly horrific turnover in which point guard Fred Brown passed the ball directly to Worthy, confusing him for his own teammate.

And that is how the legend of Michael Jordan began. His name forever etched in basketball history.

And then some.

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