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Assigned Reading: Dean Smith’s health continues to deteriorate

Mar 5, 2014, 3:04 PM EDT

Dean Smith is battling dementia.

We all know that by now. It’s not a secret. His memory is deteriorating, a fact made all the more demoralizing because it was Smith’s unbelievable memory that was perhaps his most notable trait.

What’s striking, however, is just how far it has progressed.

ESPN published a story from Tommy Tomlinson today that shows just how far Smith’s health has regressed. It includes this crushing opening paragraph:

Dean Smith doesn’t watch the games anymore. The motion on the screen is too hard to follow. Now he thumbs through golf magazines and picture books. Most of the books are about North Carolina basketball. They seem to make him happy. He turns the pages past photo after photo of himself. Nobody knows if he knows who he is.

The story is heartwrenching, but it is beautifully written and worth the read.

  1. mikecarter1135 - Mar 5, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Prayers going out to an icon a GIANT of a man. Dean is the reason I am a Tar Heel fan not Jordan. Dean is the reason I watch college basketball.

  2. steelebolt - Mar 5, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    I agree, Dean is what drew me to become Tar Heel fan!

  3. provguard - Mar 5, 2014 at 8:52 PM

    Please, lets not make a spectacle of Coach Smith. He is one of the very-very few people that I can mention in the same sentence as Mr. John Wooden. My prayers, Mr. Smith…

  4. namriverrat69 - Mar 6, 2014 at 5:45 AM

    I’m an Arizona Wildcat fan that knows ”greatness” when he sees it. That one word exemplifies Dean Smith. I had the priviledge to see his whole career which was spectacular. Much respect, love and prayer go to Dean Smith and his family.

  5. 1historian - Mar 6, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    Dauster, the very fact that you are getting paid for putting a sad story like this on the internet for all to see says all about you that I need to know.

    Couldn’t you have just left the poor man alone? Isn’t his suffering and that of his family enough?

    Apparently not

  6. cranespy - Mar 7, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    There is a fine line between honoring someones life and exploiting their condition. The pressure to be the one who scoops the story…..firmly believing that if I don’t go public with it someone else will is far too pervasive. Whatever became of Ethics? What’s wrong with a simple…..”Coach Smith is in ill health and his family respectfully requests that their privacy be honored. They offer sincere thanks to all basketball fans for their prayers and good wishes.”

    Unfortunately that’s rarely enough….instead we get the proverbial human interest piece that serves only to exploit.

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