The ACC is a league with passionate fan bases and mostly we don’t like each other very much.
However, ACC fans are also very sophisticated and respect greatness when they see it. Don’t mistake that for talent. Greatness is what you do with talent.
Periodically there are guys who are just respected around the league. This requires a lot. Talent obviously but also passion and a certain likability. Christian Laettner might get some grudging respect (and a healthy amount of fear) but no one outside of Duke would love him.
But there are guys who are universally respected. Think of Grant Hill, Muggsy Bogues, David Thompson and Bobby Cremins.
And while you are putting your list together here’s a suggestion: Rodney Rogers.
The Durham native was widely admired. He was talented but he also worked hard. And he was likable.
And of course he could play. Here’s a great clip from his NBA career when Jones scored nine points in eight seconds.
Paralyzed since an accident in 2008, Rogers now lives in Timberlake, not far from his hometown of Durham.