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You Tube Gold: Michael Jordan Takes On Duke

And in 1983, it wasn’t that hard to do.

University of North Carolina Tar Heels Men’s Basketball
CHAPEL HILL, NC- CIRCA 1983: Michael Jordan, #23 shooting guard of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels goes up for the slam dunk 
Photo by North Carolina/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

ESPN’s documentary about Michael Jordan and the final championship of the Bulls dynasty, The Last Dance, debuted on Sunday night with two episodes.

As someone said, almost no one realized what Jordan would become in the NBA. Actually a couple of people said it.

In college, he was seen as a major talent but one of the two best players in the history of the game? Not many expected that.

A note here: we realize most people would pick Jordan as the best player ever but Bill Russell deserves consideration too, not just as the best basketball player in history but as perhaps the greatest athlete in the history of team sports.

Russell won every title from his junior year to his final year with the Boston Celtics. His last two years in college San Francisco was undefeated. He won the Olympics and won the NBA championship in every year except two: his second year he was injured and in 1967, the Philadelphia 76ers had a superior team.

That was it. As great as Jordan was, as powerful as his will was, he couldn’t match those accomplishments.

However, his game was transcendent and revolutionized not just the NBA but the game globally.

We could live with either one being ranked #1 but Russell’s accomplishments are mind boggling.

Anyway, in his ACC days, Jordan was obviously good as a freshman and just kept getting better.

This clip against Duke is from his sophomore year and Duke’s last year of really struggling as Coach K got his program going. The Blue Devils finished 11-17 as freshmen Mark Alarie, David Henderson, Jay Bilas and Johnny Dawkins began to lay the foundations for a historic rise.

Things would change a lot the next year. Tommy Amaker would show up in Durham and Duke would finish 24-10 and make the NCAA tournament.

Not this time out though.

UNC dominated Duke’s young team 103-82. In a hint of the future, Jordan had 32 points and was unstoppable.