Because of the passing of legendary college basketball coach and hero, Dean E. Smith, I think it's only right to dedicate this blog to him and to how fast information spread on social media about his death.
Coming to Carolina three years ago I did not know much about Smith other than the fact that he was the head coach at UNC before Roy Williams, coached basketball great, Michael Jordan and left a huge heelprint at Carolina. I did not know however, that he was not just a coach who led the Tar Heels to 11 Final Fours, 13 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles and 2 national championships in 36 seasons, but he was also the first coach ever to integrate African-American players to the ACC. Like Coach K said, Smith was way ahead of his time when it came to social issues and in lieu of the racial issues currently going on in the country and on our campus and I appreciate this man who had the ability to make a difference in the world of basketball.
I have much respect for Smith as he set the stage for Carolina to be a school that is beloved around the world and to teach individuals the importance of being well-rounded and dedicated. When I heard of his passing I had not looked at a TV or a newspaper at all. The way I found out was through Instagram. As I scrolled down my timeline I saw special tributes from current and former UNC students, UNC fans and basketball fans.I then got updates on my phone from my ESPN sport's center moblie app.
All I had to do was pick up my phone to find out about his death and learn all the amazing things he did for basketball and for people while he was living. In a previous post I talked about how social media causes issues for many people regarding privacy, harassment and the things people do when they are deemed "anonymous." However, Dean's passing shows the power social media has to bring a community together to remember someone who impacted us all. I have seen in posts "The Chapel Hill community is mourning the loss of a great legend," which this community can mourn without physically being near one another. We mourn as we watch videos on the Internet, see quotes from Smith and his players and see the overall impact he made.
Seeing this on social media encourages me to have a bigger heart and I image it would for others as well. So, social media and media and general has its pros and cons, and although it is a sad day in the Chapel Hill community from the fast spreading news about his death, it is always a great day to be a Tar Heel because of people like Dean E. Smith. Rest in peace Tar Heel.