Chapel Hill, NC -North Carolina men's basketball program began its yearlong celebration of its centennial season Friday night, drawing a sellout crowd of nearly 22,000 fans
to watch a charity game featuring its alumni playing in the NBA or overseas.
The rosters featured some of the program's biggest stars of the past two decades, including NBA All-Stars such as Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison and Jerry Stackhouse. They also included 10 members of the Tar Heels' 2005 and 2009 national championship teams.
Still, the crowd reserved its biggest cheers for a pair of big names who weren't even playing: Michael Jordan and retired Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith.
knowledged the roar of the crowd, then pointed several times at the players as they applauded for him.
Smith sat at the scorer's table during the game, seated between Jordan and Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown.
With so many prominent people in attendance, the crowd spent much of the night snapping pictures with their cell phones and craning their necks to peer down the tunnel and beg for an autograph before the game. Of course, the fans had some trouble figuring out who to cheer for at times, eventually opting to applaud every play.
That's not to say they didn't get charged up a few times, most notably on some highlight-reel dunks from Carter. The Orlando Magic star ended the first half by taking an alley-oop pass from former teammate Shammond Williams off the backboard and throwing it down on the break.
Among the other notable people in attendance: Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, who coached the losing Blue team; new Detroit Pistons coach John Kuester, who coached the victorious White; and Bill Guthridge, Smith's longtime assistant who spent three years as head coach after Smith's retirement. The White team also included Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive lineman Julius Peppers - a two-sport standout here earlier this decade - who dressed out but didn't play and heard chants of ``We want Peppers!'' late in the game.
At halftime, the program unveiled the banner commemorating last season's national title, the program's second in the past five seasons and fifth NCAA championship overall. In addition, the school honored Jordan during the second half and added his name to the banner listing the program's Naismith Hall of Fame inductees. Jordan will be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., next week.
Proceeds from the event went to the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center and the UNC Children's Hospital.
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