He was there for the heartbreaking loss in the NCAA championship game last year. But this year, when the North Carolina Tar Heels faced Gonzaga with his image emblazoned on their jerseys, His Airness was nowhere to be found.
Michael Jordan, the most famous man to play the game, the man whose game winning shot gave UNC its 1982 championship and whose 23 jersey hangs in the rafters of the Dean E. Smith Center, wasn’t in Glendale to see the Tar Heels defeat Gonzaga 71-65 to win it all.
And it was all because he didn’t want to jinx the team.
On the Dan Patrick Show April 4, UNC coach Roy Williams said Jordan was too superstitious to attend the game this year after being there for the loss the year before.
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“People asked me the last day and a half if he was going to come and I said ‘he hasn’t called but guys, knowing him, he’s going to say I went last year and you lost.’ And so that’s what I was thinking,” Williams said. “Our assistant AD Clint Gwaltney, we were walking to the bus last night and I said ‘I want to bet you a dollar, I’ll give you about any odds you want, but I’ll bet you there’s a text message from Michael or a voicemail from Michael and he’s going to say something about coming last year.’ And sure enough, I got on the bus and got my phone out of my backpack – so I left it on the bus. I had quite a few messages and one of them was from Michael, so I collected some money last night.”
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett