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The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Tar Heel call Chapel Hill, North Carolina home. As a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Tar Heels premier rival is Duke University, just miles down Tobacco Road in Durham, North Carolina.
The premier sport at North Carolina is men’s basketball, where national championships reign supreme as the Tar Heels currently hoist six national championship banners in the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center. During home games, over 21,000 Tar Heel die-hards don their Carolina blue and white to attend games in the raucous atmosphere of the Smith Center. The stellar hoops program has produced several great NBA players and none greater than the one and only Michael Jordan. Other famous NBA players that once roamed the court in Chapel Hill are coach Dean Smith, coach Roy Williams, Tyler Hansbrough, Vince Carter, James Worthy, Antawn Jamison and Jerry Stackhouse.
Men’s and women’s soccer also reign supreme on the University of North Carolina campus, with the women racking up 21 national championships since 1982 and the men tallying two national championships as well. Men’s and women’s lacrosse, as well as women’s field hockey, are also very successful in their own right, earning national championships in each sport multiple times.
The fans of the Tar Heels are led by their mascot Ramses, a ram that either is dressed up in costume by a member of the cheerleading squad or a real live Dorset Horn sheep on the sidelines of the football team at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Steeped in tradition, the Tar Heels basketball players participate in “the slide”, where players slide across the court floor on their bellies prior to leaving the court after pre-game warmups. But perhaps the most famous UNC Tar Heel basketball tradition is the thanking the passer tradition started by historic hoops coach Dean Smith. To promote an unselfish culture among his players, Coach Smith made it a rule that after making a shot, Tar Heel players were to point out the player that passed the ball to them before they scored. This tradition continues today and helps promote community and teamwork among the players to help build the ultimate team atmosphere.