Featured Attraction

Carolina Basketball Museum


With March Madness here, it only seems proper to feature the Carolina Basketball Museum.

Just two doors down from the Dean E. Smith Center on the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill’s Campus is the Ernie Williamson Athletic Center which is home to the Carolina Basketball Museum. 9 years ago in January of 2008, the museum opened its doors to the public.

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(photo credit: Jeffrey Camarati)

The museum features artifacts, videos, photos, statistical and historical panels that highlight the history of the Carolina Basketball program. The museum experience begins with a six-minute theater presentation and includes video tributes to Dean Smith, Roy Williams and the Carolina Family, Tyler Hansbrough, Phil Ford, Michael Jordan and the history of UNC Basketball. It also includes interactive presentations highlighting Carolina's 18 Final Four appearances and 17 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championships, and many of the greatest games and most exciting finishes in Tar Heel history.

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Featured Items at the Museum

(By Adam Lucas, columnist for GoHeels, @carolina_Pod co-host & author of 6 books on, yes you guessed it, Carolina Basketball)

UNC Locker: As part of the Museum, the Museum Committee wanted to include a glimpse into the current Tar Heel locker room. To achieve that, they asked players what items they'd typically have in their locker, and the current Tar Heels responded with a bevy of CD and textbook selections. Some of those picks are included in the locker, which greets visitors upon their exit from the entrance video.

1957 championship game ball: The Museum Committee knew it would be difficult to find a tangible memory of the 1957 title to include in the national championship room. Until, that is, Carol Quigg the wife of title-clinching free throw shooter Joe Quigg called with a question. "Would you be interested in the game ball from the championship game?" she asked. "We just found it in a closet. The answer, of course, was yes.


Dean Smith's Sportsman of the Year trophy: In 1997, Dean Smith won one of the sports world's most prestigious honors when Sports Illustrated named him the Sportsman of the Year. True to form, however, Smith was less than impressed. The actual award for the SI honor is a trophy that closely resembles an urn. Smith donated his entire memorabilia collection to the Museum, and included on his list of items was the Sportsman of the Year trophy. But when it came time to install the actual items in the Museum cases, no one could find the SI memorabilia. Eventually, just before the Museum's opening, Smith found it shoved to the back of his TV cabinet, where he and his wife for years had thought it was just a normal urn rather than an honor most sports figures would cherish forever.

Michael Jordan collection: Jordan donated several personal items to the Museum. Because of their significant monetary value, several members of the Museum committee journeyed to Chicago to pick them up at his home. Upon arrival, there wasn't much question whether they were at the right house: the gigantic gates outside the estate were complete with the number "23." By the way, Jordan 's mother toured the Museum shortly before it opened and deemed it "the best display of Michael's memorabilia I've ever seen."

1972 UNC Basketball media guide: The item itself came from the sports information archives and isn't especially rare. What is rare, though, is the reaction Roy Williams had to the publication upon seeing it when the Museum was unveiled to the current team. "I wasn't a part of that team," Williams said. "But because of Coach Smith and what he created here, I can tell you who every single one of those people are and what they're doing today." Williams's comment was the perfect testament to the true meaning of the Carolina Basketball family.



450 Skipper Bowles Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

For groups of 25 or more call (919) 962-6000 to schedule your visit


Monday-Friday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
2016-17 Basketball Gameday Hours

Admission is FREE to the public.


Parking for museum guests is located across the street in the metered spaces of the Williamson Lot during regular business hours. Overflow parking is available in the Ramshead Deck for an hourly fee.