UNC’s Star Guard Phil Ford

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

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

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.

He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. Today he works for the fundraising arm of the university’s athletic department.

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