Phil Ford with Dean Smith, circa 1974-1978. Image from the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill.

At Point Guard, From Rocky Mount, Phil Ford

On February 9, 1956, basketball legend Phil Ford was born in Kannapolis.

Ford was raised in Rocky Mount, where he graduated from high school in 1974.

As a point guard at UNC-Chapel Hill, he led the basketball team to four NCAA tournaments. Ford’s accolades during his college career were many. In 1978, he capped off his senior year by winning the coveted John R. Wooden Award, given annually to the country’s most outstanding college basketball player.

He graduated that year with a degree in business administration.

Ford was the number two pick in the 1978 NBA draft, going to the Kansas City Kings. The following year, he was named NBA rookie of the year. During the course of his career, Ford also played professionally for the New Jersey Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Houston Rockets.

Inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, Ford now works for the fundraising arm of UNC’s athletic department.

Visit: The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame exhibit is open on the third floor of the N.C. Museum of History daily.

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Image from the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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