Thankful For Sports: My favorite sports moment of all-time.

Thanksgiving is finally here. Families all around the country will gather around the table and come together. Thanksgiving is a time to look back on all of the wonderful things life brings us, including sports.

I’ve been a North Carolina basketball fan since I was eight years old. The Tar Heels are one of the most stories programs of all-time, making it hard to choose one moment. After thinking about it and looking through lots of tape, I’ve decided to go with my Tar Heels sending legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski into retirement (twice).

The first matchup occurred on March 5th, 2022. Coach Krzyzewski announced that he would retire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. This meant that his final home game would come against his biggest rival: the Tar Heels of North Carolina.

The Duke Blue Devils handled the Tar Heels 87-67 a month prior in Chapel Hill. Many experts thought the second matchup would produce similar results. The Blue Devils were led by 6’10 freshmen Paolo Banchero, who averaged 17.2 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game.

The first half was back and forth, with the Blue Devils leading 41-39 heading to the break. The Tar Heels went on to outscore Duke 55-40 in the second half to win 94-81. Armando Bacot’s dunk off of a Caleb Love pass sealed the deal for the Heels. This was a huge win for a UNC team on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament.

The two teams met about a month later, only this time on a bigger stage. The storied rivals met on the biggest stage in the sport: the NCAA Final Four. It was the first time in history that North Carolina and Duke met each other in the NCAA Tournament.

This game was similar to the last meeting. The Blue Devils found themselves up 37-34 at the break. Unlike the previous meetings, this one was more of a defensive battle. Both teams traded baskets down the stretch, and that’s when UNC guard Caleb Love took over. With his team up by 1 with 28 seconds left, Caleb Love slowly brought the ball up the court. He waited around at the top of the key for the screen to come, and he hoisted a three when it did. The shot hit the bottom of the net and the Heels went on to win 81-77. This game effectively ended Coach K’s legendary career.

The Tar Heels would go on to lose the national championship to Kansas, but this is still my favorite memory. No one expected UNC to win the last two games against Duke, but they found a way to win. This is not only my favorite memory but my favorite group in UNC history. The backcourt of R.J. Davis and Caleb Love paired with forwards Brady Manek and Armando Bacot. This team was amazing to watch every time they took the floor.

There’s a lot of people that I’m thankful for in my life. There’s too many to name, but I can’t forget about my friends who write for MSB. I’m thankful for each and every single one of them. They brought me in back in August when I had little to no experience in the writing industry. I can never thank them enough for getting my name out there. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all have an amazing day with loved ones.

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