Dean Smith is battling dementia.
We all know that by now. It’s not a secret. His memory is deteriorating, a fact made all the more demoralizing because it was Smith’s unbelievable memory that was perhaps his most notable trait.
What’s striking, however, is just how far it has progressed.
ESPN published a story from Tommy Tomlinson today that shows just how far Smith’s health has regressed. It includes this crushing opening paragraph:
Dean Smith doesn’t watch the games anymore. The motion on the screen is too hard to follow. Now he thumbs through golf magazines and picture books. Most of the books are about North Carolina basketball. They seem to make him happy. He turns the pages past photo after photo of himself. Nobody knows if he knows who he is.
The story is heartwrenching, but it is beautifully written and worth the read.