The most unique gift I received during the recent holiday season was this used book, found by my mother at her local library book sale. The question is, why — aside from the fact that any Tar Heel fan would be happy to receive this book — is this gift so great?
The answer: because of the surprise on the inside front matter.
That’s right, an inscription by the Dean himself, Dean Smith … you know, the November 2013 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom? The only man to hold Michael Jordan to under 20 points a game? The man who surpassed John Wooden in all-time collegiate basketball wins? Yep, that guy.
What’s great about the page is that it isn’t just an autograph, but an inscription.
“Best always to Scott! Have a great Father’s Day and take care of Kim — Dean Smith”
I don’t know if this is just normal book-store signing day chatter or if he really knew these people, but I’d like to think that he knew them. They were friends. Of course, I have no idea who Scott and Kim are … or how their book ended up at the library sale. (I hope they didn’t lose it and are still searching for it!)
Did they have a falling out with UNC? Did their children attend different universities, skewing their allegiances? Did they become — gasp — DUKE fans?
It’s a mystery. That’s the great part about books in general, but particularly used books. Books take on a life of their own, separate from the words inside, that makes them fascinating. That’s why my shelves are perennially full of random, used books.
At least that’s what I tell my wife.
What books have come across your shelf with a story you’d like to unravel?
In the meantime, and to refresh the memory, here’s why the 1993 UNC title was so memorable.