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Jordan, Hamm Named ACC's Greatest Athletes

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — At a gala event held at the Greensboro Coliseum on the eve of the 50th Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball tournament, the league announced its selection of the top athletes in the past 50 years.

Heading the list were former North Carolina basketball player Michael Jordan, named the top male athlete, and former UNC women's soccer athlete Mia Hamm, named the top female athlete.

Here are the top-10 lists:


  • 1. Michael Jordan
  • 2. David Thompson (N.C. State basketball)
  • 3. Charlie Ward (Florida State football and basketball)
  • 4. Arnold Palmer (Wake Forest golf)
  • 5. Randy White (Maryland football)
  • 6. Ralph Sampson (Virginia basketball)
  • 7. Lawrence Taylor (UNC football)
  • 8. Tim Duncan (Wake Forest basketball)
  • 9. Phil Ford (UNC basketball)
  • 10. Renaldo "Skeets" Nehemiah (Maryland track)
  • Women

  • 1. Mia Hamm
  • 2. Marion Jones (UNC basketball and track)
  • 3. Dawn Staley (Virginia basketball)
  • 4. Julie Shea (N.C. State cross country)
  • 5. Joan Benoit (N.C. State track)
  • 6. Sue Walsh (UNC swimming)
  • 7. Alana Beard (Duke basketball)
  • 8. Jen Adams (Maryland field hockey)
  • 9. Vanessa Webb (Duke tennis)
  • 10. Charlotte Smith (UNC basketball)
  • Mia Hamm

    Arguably one of the greatest women's soccer players in the world, Hamm led the Tar Heels to four NCAA championships -- 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993 -- and a combined 92-1-2 (.979) overall record in her four years.

    The Burke, Va., product missed the 1991 season while helping the United States win the first Women's World Cup in soccer.

    Hamm was the unanimous national player of the year in 1992 and 1993. She was the ACC player of the year in 1990, 1992 and 1993.

    The NCAA Tournament career and single-game record-holder for goals, assists and points, Hamm led the nation in scoring in 1990, 1992 and 1993.

    In her junior season (1992), Hamm set the NCAA single-season scoring record with 97 points on 32 goals and 33 assists.

    Hamm starred on U.S National and Olympic Teams throughout her career, and she has scored more goals in international play than any player in history, male or female.

    Michael Jordan

    Arguably one of the greatest players to have played the game, Jordan was the consensus national player of the year, ACC player of the year and ACC athlete of the year in 1984.

    A three-year starter at UNC from 1982 to 1984, the Wilmington, N.C., native earned ACC freshman-of-the-year honors in 1982. He was a unanimous All-ACC selection and first-team All-America in 1983 and 1984.

    As a freshman, Jordan hit the game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Tournament championship game against Georgetown as the Tar Heels claimed their second national title and the ACC's third.

    Jordan averaged 17.7 points and five rebounds a game in three years at Chapel Hill, and he played for U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning basketball teams in 1984 and 1992.

    The third overall selection in the 1984 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, Jordan went on to become a bonafide superstar in the pro ranks, being named the league's rookie of the year in 1985 and its Most Valuable Player in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1998.

    Jordan, a 10-time NBA scoring leader and the league's third all-time leading scorer with 31,826 points, led the Bulls to six NBA titles and was named NBA Finals MVP six times.

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