UNC legendary point guard, Phil Ford, joined the Mac Attack to talk about rivalries, the greatest in ACC history, Dean Smith and the Four Corners.
On the Big Four Tournament: You could actually an in-state ACC school, four times during the season. It was always tough to play a team four times. A lot of the fans liked it, but the coaches didn’t like it too much, because you don’t like to play any team four times in the same season.
On His Rivals at UNC: When I was in school, Duke wasn’t really the big rivalry, NC State was. They had David Thompson and he and Michael Jordan are arguably the greatest two players to ever play in the ACC. They had just won a national title my senior year in , so NC State was more the rivalry.
On NC State: They have a great program, they’re a great and they attract really good student athletes. I don’t think is something we should take for granted. Coach Williams does a great job with our ball club, but State’s very capable.
On the greatest player in ACC history: It’s hard to say. To me when you have the greatest of all-time in college, arguably, in David Thompson and you have the greatest of all-time, overall, in Michael Jordan. Those two guys, I wouldn’t want to live on the difference. Those two are clearly head and shoulders above all of us in this league.
On Dean Smith: He always said, what’s best for the team on the court is best for the individual off the court. As a team on the court, you wanted to play unselfish and hard an play together and have fun. Off the court, you wanted not to be a selfish person and try to do things to help your fellow man. He was so smart academically, I think he could been a great scientist, of a huge corporation or doctor, but he just chose to be a basketball player. He’s one of the most giving people that I’ve ever met in my life, that was always trying to do what’s right. He never wanted any credit. When we lost a game, it was his fault and when we won a game, it was our fault, which we didn’t believe, because we always thought if we did what he told us to do, exactly as he told us to do it, we would win. He’s just an incredible human being. Of course, I’m going to say it and I do believe, he’s the greatest coach to ever coach basketball, but he’s a great guy too, a good man.
Carolina basketball legend Phil Ford has a long and illustrious history with his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Friday, he added another chapter to the storybook. The 1978 NCAA National Player of the Year announced that the Phil Ford Foundation will partner with N.C. Children’s Hospital and the UNC Department of Pediatrics to advance obesity prevention and treatment in children and adolescents through clinical research at UNC.
The percentage of overweight and obese children and adolescents in the United States is alarming, leaving a high percentage of youth prone to developing chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Obesity affects about 17 percent of U.S. children and adolescents (or 12.5 million from ages 9 to 19) — triple the obesity rate from just one generation ago. North Carolina is no exception. North Carolina has the 5th highest childhood obesity rate in the nation, with nearly one out of three (33 percent) children ages 10-17 in North Carolina considered overweight or obese.
“Childhood overweight and obesity is putting today’s youth on a trajectory to becoming the first generation to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents,” said Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH, a leading authority in the prevention of obesity in children, who conducts her research out of the UNC Department of Pediatrics.
Ford announced plans to raise money that will provide a professorship, endowment funds and space to strengthen and secure a long-term focus on childhood obesity, benefiting children in North Carolina and throughout the country. Longer term, the foundation aims to help establish a research center for obesity prevention at UNC.
Led by Dr. Eliana Perrin, UNC’s work in this field focuses on factors that influence a family’s ability to help their children maintain healthy lifestyles. Dr. Perrin and her team have investigated the benefits of body mass index (BMI) screening, barriers to physicians’ use of appropriate methods for obesity prevention and treatment, and the relationship between culture and obesity. They manage several grants for studies investigating social factors throughout North Carolina that impact obesogenic culture.
“I can’t tell you the excitement I felt when Phil Ford walked into my office and shared his vision to create a foundation that would contribute to research on childhood obesity,” said Perrin. “Together with Phil and his foundation, I look forward to carrying out initiatives that will change lives of children. Through the support of the foundation and others who believe in fighting this fight for better health, we will become a national leader in obesity prevention and treatment research.”
Phil Ford, the former University of North Carolina All-American and 1978 National
Player of the Year, will conduct a clinic for boys and girls at FanFest on Friday, March 7, at the
Greensboro Coliseum before the quarterfinals of the 2014 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament.
FanFest is located outside the main entrance to the coliseum. There is no admission
The first freshman to win MVP honors at the ACC Tournament, in 1975, Ford will talk to
youngsters and parents about the skills needed to be successful in basketball and the good
sportsmanship the Atlantic Coast Conference has promoted for years. Ford and four college
basketball players will also demonstrate shooting technique.
Following the 45-minute clinic, which begins at 10 a.m., Jacque Sumner of the Sumner
Group in Gastonia, N.C., will unveil the brand campaign, Phil Ford Basketball, and it website,
PhilFordBasketball.com, through which Ford makes personal appearances at sports clubs,
schools and churches, gives motivational speeches to athletes, coaches and business leaders and
helps run the annual ACC Barnstorming Tour for players who have finished their college
Ford will also preview his recently published children’s book, The Kid Who Couldn’t
Dunk – The Phil Ford Story and Tips From Phil on Being Your Best. The eBook, written with
Ford by noted Carolina author Art Chansky and illustrated by Mark Dubowski, is available on
Amazon.com, iTunes and all other e-platforms for $6.99.
Supporting the Phil Ford Foundation, which helps children in need, will be
representatives from the UNC School of Medicine, the North Carolina Children’s Hospital and
the Medical Foundation of North Carolina. Dr. Eliana Perrin from the UNC School of Medicine
and Dr. Wesley Burks from the North Carolina Children’s Hospital will make brief remarks
about the Foundation. Crystal Miller will represent the Medical Foundation of North Carolina.
Ford will be assisted at the clinic by college basketball players Mark Comstock, from
Castleton State University in Rutland, Vermont, who was the North Atlantic Conference 2012
Player of the Year; Pet Sumner from the University of Maine-Farmington and All-NAC first
team; Jack Sumner from Hampden Sydney College, and Doug Towery from UNC-Charlotte.
After the clinic and press conference, Ford will take questions from the audience.
The percentage of overweight and obese children and adolescents in the United States is
alarming, leaving a high percentage of children and adolescents prone to developing chronic
diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Obesity now affects about 17
percent of U.S. children and adolescents (or 12.5 million from ages 9 to 19)—that’s triple the
obesity rate from just one generation ago!
North Carolina is no exception. Consider these statistics from Eat Smart, Move More North
• North Carolina has the 5th highest childhood obesity rate in the nation.
• Nearly one out of three (33%) children ages 10-17 in North Carolina is overweight or
Childhood overweight and obesity is putting today’s youth on a trajectory to becoming the first
generation to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents. Early interventions are key to
reversing this trend, and pediatrician-parent relationships are an important tool.
“We need to remember our role as healthcare providers throughout many transitions for children
and their parents,” says Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH, a leading authority in the prevention of obesity
in children, who conducts her research at UNC’s Department of Pediatrics. “First, we can
promote healthy habits from the beginning of life. So many very young infants are put in front
of the television, strapped away from play space, encouraged to eat unhealthy foods like french-
fries, and given juice and soda early in life. As children grow up, we need to help them combat
the toxic environment and help them find healthy dietary options and good options for play and
sports--options that don’t stigmatize them and create a vicious cycle.
Perrin researches how pediatricians can best help young people achieve healthy weight
trajectories. She has investigated the benefits of body mass index (BMI) screening and barriers to
physicians’ use of appropriate methods for obesity prevention and treatment.
“We really want to learn the ways parents and pediatricians can have good conversations
together that help prevent obesity—conversations that will motivate healthy behavior change
without making children or their families feel judged or stigmatized,” says Perrin.
She also studies physical activity like sports and the relationship between culture and obesity.
N.C. Children's Hospital protects the health and well-being of North Carolina's 2.1 million
children by aligning premier health care practitioners, world-class medical education, and
innovative, interdisciplinary research to provide the highest-quality, family-centered care,
regardless of a family's ability to pay. As a major referral center for children with complex and
chronic conditions, N.C. Children's Hospital works hand-in-hand with community hospitals and
pediatricians across the state, providing specialty care to more than 70,000 children from all 100
counties each year.
N.C. Children's Hospital offers complete pediatric inpatient and outpatient care in its 150-bed
state-of-the-art facility at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and at more than 25 satellite outpatient
clinics throughout North Carolina. The Children's Hospital's world-class physicians, nurses and
other clinical staff represent all pediatric subspecialties and are capable of treating children with
virtually any disease or disorder. For more information, visit ncchildrenshospital.org.
ABOUT THE PHIL FORD FOUNDATION
The Phil Ford Foundation was established to support the research of obesity prevention and
care through the University of North Carolina Department of Pediatrics and N.C. Children's
Hospital at UNC. The goal of the Foundation is to establish a Center for Obesity Research and
Prevention at UNC that will impact change and bring about long-term results in the field of
obesity prevention in children and adolescents.
Led by Dr. Eliana Perrin, UNC's work focuses on social and other factors that impact a family's
ability to help their children maintain healthy lifestyles. Dr. Perrin and her team manage several
projects currently looking at the social factors throughout North Carolina that create these
challenges. She is interested in what can be done at the “bedside and the curbside” to prevent and
The Foundation aims to raise money that will provide a professorship, endowment funds, and
space to strengthen and secure a long-term focus on obesity in North Carolina and the United
The Phil Ford Foundation Mission Statement
To enhance the health and quality of life for our nation's children and the adults they will become
through an awareness of the socio economic drivers of childhood obesity, combined with
rigorous, cutting edge clinical research for its prevention and treatment.