Blog Entry

Coach K's letter of regret to Michael Jordan

Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:27 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:14 pm
By Matt Norlander

Crazy as it may seem, Coach K doesn't always get his way. And when he was a young pup trying to build up a program, he frequently fell short when trying to get blue-chip recruits to Durham. If it weren't for one man, Krzyzewski wouldn't have made it to a fourth year as Duke coach.

Of all the recruits K misfired on, Michael Jordan is the most famous. And after 23 picked UNC just a few days before Halloween in 1980, Krzyzewski sat down and punched out a 65-word letter of regret to the lanky kid who would go on to change the way the world viewed and cared about basketball. By the way, this was K's first season as head coach in Durham.

This is the third artifact related to MJ's recruitment to get some pub on the Internet this week. Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg dedicated a post Thursday to Jordan's signed Letter of Intent and Dean Smith's recruiting letters to Jordan 32 years ago. A hat tip is in order to Sporting News' Chris Littmann, who alerted me to the letter on Twitter after he noticed Josh Benedek of Jordan Brand PR Instagram out the photo. Who knows, maybe the Jordan Brand is preparing to do some promo work or a retrospective on the fertilization of its namesake's career. The letter is currently housed at North Carolina's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Coach K's letter to Jordan starts with a heck of a line, filled with a guilt trip and what I think is a backhanded, minor, insult (maybe it's just standard fare on rejection letters, though), before he goes on to wish the young player luck in Chapel Hill. Cool little piece of history, the discarded decisions along the way to UNC and Duke history.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Feb 6, 2010
Posted on: February 13, 2012 2:47 pm

Coach K's letter of regret to Michael Jordan

An intersting piece of history. What I would rather see is the letter which Jerry Krause explains why he broke up the Chicago Bulls after their sixth championship!

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2012 4:00 pm

Coach K's letter of regret to Michael Jordan

No controversy or news here. The Jordan brand needs no pub to keep itself at the forefront in the minds of basketball fans. This seems to me to be a couple of sportswriters trying to keep their own brand relevant.

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:58 pm

Coach K's letter of regret to Michael Jordan

And Coach K still uses the smae form letter today when he misses out on a recruit...what`s that Duke gets 5 McDonald`s all americans every year?  Cardboard cut outs are more animated than K, Jordan made the right choice. Remember kids be like Mike!  

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:37 am

Norlander needs to get over his own self.

There is nothing insulting at all in this letter.  This is another scribe reaching for what doesn't exist.  It's sad that he's taking a swipe at the coach because of this letter.  Maybe he's feeling a little insecure and needed to bash someone else in order to feel better about his worthless "contributions" to the world.

Since: Dec 12, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2012 7:57 pm

Coach K's letter of regret to Michael Jordan

Are you serious? That letter is as bland and inocuous as they get. There is no story here. I'll bet if you looked at a lot more letters from coaches to players who they didn't get they'd be pretty much the same. Gees, anything to start a controvercy.

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