A blue line, 10 inches wide, awaited North Carolina basketball players at the arena's entrance each day before practice.
They knew it as the spot where competition began. It was to be crossed only after both shoes were tied, practice jerseys were properly tucked, and minds were prepared.
It was just a line on the floor, but it was also much more: It was a metaphorical
border of what celebrated coach Dean Smith called “the Carolina Way” — a sense of humility, teamwork and just plain hard work that came to be seen as
the university’s ideal.
Smith, a beloved basketball figure who used fundamentals and team-first dictates to lead the University of North...