Dean Smith, who coached basketball at the University of North Carolina from 1958-1997, was renowned for a simple concept he taught to each of his players:
Whenever you score, in practice or a game, point your finger at the teammate who passed you the ball, out of thanks for the selflessness.
After the gesture caught on with the players, it caught on with the coaches. After it caught on there, the fans at games started pointing to the passers.
After he died in 2015, Smith’s successor and longtime assistant, Roy Williams, made a speech at his memorial service in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
“We’re very fortunate to be here together, in a wonderful, wonderful family,” Williams said. “The Smith family: I thank you, I love you. Trying to speak on behalf of every one of us. Let’s raise our hand, and point.”
“And thank him for the assist.”
* * *
This site began in June 2018, on the eve of the World Cup, with the hope to capture the best pieces of passwork in the sport of soccer.
A highlight with its focus a few seconds behind the finish, a few camera angles to the side.
When you look away from the net, and look for something else:
The cross. The through ball. The back-heel.
And you remember those words of Dean Smith’s:
Always point to the passer.