‘Pardon the Interruption’ Remembers UNC’s Dean Smith as a ‘Great Liberal’

On Monday’s broadcast of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption,” co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon looked back on the career of late former University of North Carolina Men’s Basketball coach Dean Smith.

Wilbon remembers Smith for what he did off the court.

“You and I were fortunate to have interactions with him over a fairly long period of time, like 25 years or so, and for me, Tony, Dean Smith, and I got to talk to him a couple of times, he was so heavily involved in the civil rights movement in North Carolina,” Wilbon said. “People don’t know the name Charlie Scott anymore. Charlie Scott was a great basketball player in the ABA, but before that, the University of North Carolina, where he was the first scholarship black athlete, and I think the first black basketball player in the ACC and Dean Smith had the courage to not just sort of integrate in terms of sports North Carolina and Charlie Scott into that, but also to go into lunch counters and restaurants with students who are not recruits and confront things. This was a great personal risk to Dean Smith and one of the many, many, many, many things I admired about him.”

Kornheiser chimed in, saying that Smith was a “great liberal.”

“He was indeed a great liberal in a state that wasn’t liberal at all in those days in North Carolina.”

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