DOH-mer Of The Week- University of North Carolina

Before Tar Heel fans get butt hurt and go off on a tangent about the headline and DOHmer choice, sit back and soak up the explanation. I acknowledge and applaud the Tar Heels for the current success on the hardwood. They are the ACC champions, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, and an early favorite to win it all. What more could you ask for? But I’m not giving this to the North Carolina athletic department for something they’ve already done, but for something they’re about to do.

The University of North Carolina announced that they will be retiring Tyler Hansbrough’s jersey when he leaves school. My initial reaction to the announcement went something like, “What the F*ck?!?!?” Not taking anything away for Psycho T, because after all, he puts in work and has been a force down low for the Heels. I have nothing negative to say about his numbers, and my reaction isn’t about the player, as much as it is the program.

Each program is different, and if Hansbrough’s jersey was being retired at USC, Illinois or Bumf*ck Egypt State, I’d give no second thought. Even if it was at his neighboring North Carolina Charlotte, that would also be suffice. But we’re not talking about a program that’s poor in basketball tradition, because this is about North Carolina. We’re talking about a program that breeds superstars. We’re talking about hanging a Hansbrough jersey adjacent to Michael Jordan and James Worthy. I’d say the bar was set pretty damn high at UNC. Wouldn’t you? Just the thought of that number hanging in the Carolina rafters has me flashing back to Sesame Street learning games, where you choose which item doesn’t belong. Worthy, Jordan, and—HANSBROUGH? Are you sh*tting me?

It turns out that the only requirement the Heels have for jersey retirement is for a player to be selected “national player of the year” by one of these agencies: Associated Press, U.S Basketball Writers Association, The National Association of Basketball Coaches, The Sporting News, The Wooden Award, and the Naismith Award. The Sporting News named Hansbrough the player of the year, which made them equally eligible for a DOHmer. How does Michael Beasley not get that award? It’s obviously another fashion show, with the Heels’ success being a lot prettier than Beasley’s Wildcats. But truth is, Hansbrough will leave the Heels, and they’ll just reload and remain a basketball power. Beasley will leave Kansas State, and they’ll return to their role of sh*t on the bottom of Big XII shoes.

When you really give it a lot of thought, which makes my head hurt, Bob McAdoo, Bobby Jones, Vince Carter, and Rasheed Wallace didn’t receive the honor of having their numbers retired at North Carolina. You also won’t find Kenny Smith, Mitch Kupchak or Matt Doherty, but you’ll eventually find Tyler Hansbrough. Antawn Jamison’s number is also hanging high, which is another “wtf”. Let’s just throw Eric Montross up there, since we’re feeling so generous.

How did Rick Fox miss out on this good stuff? Anyone that was banging both Tyra Banks and Vanessa Williams is legendary and worthy of jersey retirement, in my book. I bow in the presence of that former Heel. Maybe I should start a “Rick to the rafters” petition, and see if I can get the Sporting News to sign it first.

The Utah Jazz retired the jersey of Darrelll Griffith, because they were obviously desperate to have something in the rafters. Eventually, “true” superstars in Karl Malone and John Stockton emerged. The Seattle Seahawks retired the number “12” to represent the fans as the 12th man. How difficult was that one? Hmm—Jim Zorn or the fans? But Carolina isn’t desperate for superstars, because they recruit them in bunches. Legends of the program have given an example of basketball excellence, and in my opinion, their last 2 choices for jersey retirement appear as tiny feet in Worthy and Jordan’s shoes. If anything, anyone following those players should be equal or one size smaller, and not appear as a shoe size difference of “Mens” and “Boys”.

It took 10 years for UCLA to consider hanging Ed O’Bannon’s number next to Lou Alcindor and Bill Walton. It even took North Carolina a year to lift Jordan’s number to the top of the gymnasium to appear beside Worthy’s. Hansbrough’s airspace has been decided and reserved, while his status in the program remains “active”.

Congratulations to you, Tyler. Without a doubt, you’re a great college player. Are you considered one of UNC’s greatest players? Nah. Unlike the athletic department, I don’t think so.

~ by Anthony on March 18, 2008.

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