“Michael Jordan Couldn’t Handle The Rock In College”: When Kenny Smith Made A Surprising Revelation About The GOAT’s UNC Tenure

Amulya Shekhar
|Published 17/11/2022

Kenny Smith made a surprising revelation about Michael Jordan and aspects of his game a few months back on All The Smoke.

When it comes to conversations about Michael Jordan, there’s a lot of misrepresentation of facts going on today. A lot of youngsters who didn’t watch the game during his prime seek to undermine him. Old-timers, on the other hand, seem to swear by his GOAT status.

One of the arguments used against MJ by the young generation is that LeBron was better earlier in their careers. James made it to the NBA straight out of high school. Michael Jordan, on the other hand, spent 3 years at Chapel Hill under coach Dean Smith.

Also Read – “Dean Smith left Michael Jordan and 179 other players $200 each in his will”: Former UNC Tar Heels head coach wanted his former players to have a ‘nice dinner’ on him

A big evolution in MJ’s game took place during those 3 years at UNC. The Tar Heels were competing for the NCAA title every year, and they needed Mike to be at his best. He delivered on that promise every year.

Kenny Smith reveals how Michael Jordan improved from his college days

TNT analyst and 2-time NBA champion Kenny Smith was a guest on the All The Smoke podcast this past summer. The former Houston Rockets guard was his candid self on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s show as well.

Midway through the interview, Barnes and Jackson asked Kenny to take them through his experiences at UNC. After talking about the Tar Heels program glowingly, Kenny dropped what seemed like a bomb in the direction of Michael Jordan:

“Sam Perkins was the best player of my freshman year. Cuz Sam was a 4-time All-American – like, that wouldn’t happen today. First Team, Sam was the best player, Michael Jordan was the most dynamic.”

Also Read – “Michael Jordan stole every single quote from his college coach”: Kenny Smith exposed $1.7 billion man for using UNC coach’s quotes as his own

“But, he didn’t have a handle. He couldn’t handle the rock in college. Even at times when we play pickup, I’ll be like ‘Yeah, I got Mike’. You’re like, ‘Imma get up on you. You can’t handle the rock.'”

The former Tar Heels star then went on to turn the tables by lavishing rich praise on the Bulls legend just seconds later.

“He’s the only guy that I know whose weaknesses he had – they were strengths at the end of his career. The only person I’ve ever…LeBron’s not like that, KD…nobody. His handle was crazy and his jumpshot was pure.”

How good was MJ’s handle?

What Kenny highlighted about MJ was absolutely true. Jordan had to work on his handle during his initial years in the league partly because his hands were too big, so he had to dribble the ball in a style different from other guards.

His handle got tighter and tighter as the seasons went by. By the time he came back to the league after his minor league baseball run, MJ relied on his handle to facilitate his mid-range scoring.

Jordan’s GOAT status is reliant on his ability to take over games and the lion’s share of the ball without turning it over in the late stages of games.

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Amulya Shekhar

Amulya Shekhar

Amulya Shekhar is a sports junkie who thrives on the thrills and frills of live sports action across basketball, football (the American variant works too), parkour, adventure sports. He believes sports connect us to our best selves, and he hopes to help people experience sports more holistically.

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