Another view of ’82

Wednesday afternoon was one of those times, like so many others in this line of work, where what you end up working on isn’t even on your radar when you step off the bus and head to the office.  Here’s what happened . . . .

Around 2:30 a new staff member in the the library’s Digital Production Center received a phone call from Yahoo! Sports requesting Hugh Morton photographs.  He asked me who should take the call, and I recommended he transfer the call to Keith Longiotti in our Research and Instructional Services Department.  Keith handles most of the image requests for the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

Shortly after the call I saw an email that I had received before the phone call, but hadn’t seen because I had been away from my desk.  The email was from an associate producer at Yahoo! Sports, and had its beginnings on Tuesday with a referral from The Daily Tar Heel to the journalism school’s librarian Stephanie Brown.

Yahoo! Sports has been producing a series called “Memorable Moments: March Madness.”  Their last episode was to feature the 1982 NCAA men’s basketball championship game between UNC and Georgetown.  They requested photographs or footage from the game, mentioning that they had seen some Hugh Morton photographs in the online collection of Morton images, but nothing from the closing moments of the game.  The producer wrote,

I’m looking for any photos AFTER Michael Jordan’s go-ahead jumper with :17 left in the game.  Specifically Georgetown’s Fred Brown throwing the ball away to James Worthy during the subsequent play.  Anything of Worthy and/or Brown from the final moments (before the steal, during the steal, after the steal, huddles, shooting free throws, etc.) would be outstanding.

Stephanie replied that the Park Library did not hold such materials, and that she should talk to me about the Hugh Morton collection.  I wrote the associate producer immediately after I finished reading her email, telling her that I had read her email shortly after the telephone call.

If you are a regular reader of A View to Hugh, then you know only 8,000 of the 250,000 items in the Morton collection are online.  I told the associate producer that I would look in the remainder of the collection to see if I could locate any images that were not online.  The catch?  They needed images that day, or early Thursday at the latest.  (Luckily their offices are on the west coast so that gave me an additional three hours to work on the request.)  They had seen Morton’s photograph of the team huddle shown above, but not in the online collection.  Did we have it?  Did we have anything else?

Given their tight deadline and the proximity to closing time, we could have settled for the images they already seen and requested.  Keith sent them scans of the images they’d seen so they could get started.  I couldn’t fathom, however, that Hugh Morton would not have photographed the pivotal closing moments unless he had been on the opposite end of the court.  That, coupled with an opportunity to give the Morton collection some national or even international exposure was too good to pass up.  I jumped on it.

First I checked for scans saved on our image server, but not used in the online collection.  (Yes, there are thousands of them!)  To do that, I had to review all the prints, negatives, and slides from the games, because the scan’s file names are written on the storage enclosures.  The huddle scene above was previously scanned, but not included online.

But look at what else I found that wasn’t scanned:
P081_1982NCCAfinal_Worthy 01After watching the closing moments of the game on YouTube, I was convinced the scene above was James Worthy driving the basketball down court after stealing Fred Brown’s errant pass.  The steal and drive happened right in front of Morton.  He snapped the camera shutter just a moment before Worthy was intentionally fouled by Georgetown’s Eric Smith (#32).  Eric “Sleepy” Floyd (#21) is on the left.  Both Floyd and Worthy are from Gastonia, North Carolina and were good friends.  The turnover happened so unexpectedly on the other end of the court, and so quickly that it may have caught Morton off guard because Worthy is out of focus.  The result, however, means that Morton captured the dismay on Floyd’s face, and the expressions on the bench and cheerleaders are more visible.

(By the way, if you watch the CBS broadcast, you can see Hugh Morton pop into the frame about 25 seconds after the end of the game.  This may be when Dean Smith told Morton, “Stick with me.”)

Below, Morton photographed Worthy taking one of his free throws with only two seconds remaining on the clock.
P081_1982NCCAfinal_Worthy 02A staff member of the Digital Production Center helped me make the scans of the two 35mm slides.  (I couldn’t do it because they just starting using new software.)  We had the slides finished before 6:00.  I continued to dig Thursday morning, taking advantage of the time zones difference, but didn’t find additional images that fit the hole they needed to fill.  We delivered the scans by their deadline, and Yahoo! Sports was thrilled.

We received the link to the story, “Michael Jordan’s gutsy shot leads to North Carolina title” this morning.  The downside of our efforts is that Yahoo! Sports doesn’t credit their sources after the episodes in “Memorable Moments: March Madness,” so you won’t see Morton or the photographic archives credited.  The upside is that seven Hugh Morton photographs appear in the episode (one of Worthy during the East Regional final game against Villanova in Raleigh, and six from the championship game), and the library did receive a respectable commercial use fee to help support the work that we do with the collections.  The team huddle photograph also opens a one-minute piece, “Memorable Moments: The huddle before Michael Jordan’s shot.”  Another of Morton’s images appears in a second short, “Memorable Moments: James Worthy remembers UNC vs. Georgetown.”

A remaining mystery emerged from this reference request.  I didn’t find a photograph of Michael Jordon’s game winning shot, which occurred near the very spot of the Worthy photograph above.  Did Morton photograph that memorable moment, too?  If so, I didn’t find it.  Yet.

6 thoughts on “Another view of ’82”

  1. Great work, Stephen. It’s always good to see the Collection get national exposure.
    As for that Morton mystery with the Jordan winning NCAA shot…I too wondered about that last year when I was researching the ’82 Championship piece. In my research, I found at least four images of what some call “the shot heard ’round the basketball world.” I’m sure Morton would have taken the shot. He’s obviously in the right place with the Worthy shot seconds later. But it’s interesting that Art Chansky, in his 1982 book, “March to the Top,” used a shot by “Daily Tar Heel” photographer Al Steele (pages 24-25) when there are dozens of Morton pictures in the book, and Morton is given lead photo credit for the book.
    Steele, in a 2002 interview said this about his famous image:
    “I had actually moved into another area to shoot the end of the game, trying to be able to get the floor and the bench. I probably wasn’t supposed to be there, but sometimes it’s just luck to get a shot like that, one that ends up being so well known. But I didn’t know what I had when I took the picture. It means a lot to have taken that picture. People will be talking about that shot, and I’ll tell them that I took it, and they can’t believe it.”
    Then there is a similar shot by Bettmann/Jerry Lodriguss
    The book, “North Carolina National Championship 1982” by UMI Publications used a much tighter shot of Jordan’s famous basket and that image is credited to Manny Millan of “Sports Illustrated.”,r:14,s:0,i:126
    Apparently, “Sports Illustrated” had two photographers in place for the Jordan shot because there is a similar shot on the front cover of “Our State” magazine for February, 1998 and it is credited to Heinz Klutmeier of “Sports Illustrated.”
    (Oddly enough, neither of the images credited to the “SI” photographers appears in the magazine issue of April 5, 1982 with the game story.)
    Morton always included images of Michael Jordan in his slides shows, but I don’t recall every seeing one of that game-winning shot. So I guess the mystery will remain for now.

  2. Stephen, I did a bit of research today about the Morton mystery you mentioned on Tuesday.
    So here are a few more thoughts…
    There is not an image of Jordan’s winning basket in any of Morton’s books.
    A check of major North Carolina newspapers from March 30, 1982 reveals:
    “The Winston-Salem Journal”
    “The News and Observer” (Raleigh)
    “The Fayetteville Observer”
    All used tightly cropped pictures of Jordan’s winning basket and each one closely resembles the Millan “Sports Illustrated” shot (UMI book, page 95), but each newspaper image was credited to United Press International (UPI Photo).
    After looking the Yahoo Sports video and hearing Worthy describe “the play” and hearing Kenny Smith’s comment, there might be a possible answer why Morton didn’t get the Jordan shot.
    With 32 seconds left in the game and trailing by one point, you might assume that Coach Smith would want his more experienced player(s) handling the ball and taking this most important shot. Morton might have been thinking that way too and focused on senior Jimmy Black or junior James Worthy, who was Smith’s first choice, but if he wasn’t open the backup would be freshman Jordan. The world now knows it was Jordan, who had imagined earlier in the day about making the game-winning shot.
    A close look at of the images of the Jordan shot indicates that all were taken within less than a second of each other. The game clock in the background shows :17 in each.
    A closer look at “Our State” magazine from February, 1998 reveals that there is an article by Barry Jacobs titled “Legends of North Carolina Basketball,” on pages 18-25, complete with 18 Morton images. But the cover shot of Jordan hitting the NCAA game-winner is from Heinz Kluetmeier of “Sports Illustrated.” Seems like they would have used a Morton image of “The Shot” if there was one.
    It would be interesting to look at the two negatives Morton took before the James Worthy action image in this post. The Jordan shot took place at 17 seconds. The Worthy image must have taken place about the 5 second mark, because Georgetown brought the ball up to the key when Worthy intercepted Brown’s pass. And as you say, the Worthy image was taken before Smith fouled. The shot of Worthy on the foul line shows the clock at 2 seconds. So what was Morton shooting between the Carolina time-out at 32 seconds and the 5 second mark when he took the Worthy action shot?
    Interestingly enough both Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge believe “The Real Shot” actually took place with 3:26 left in the game. It was a Jordan left-handed layup. Guthridge recalls: “One of the best shots of the game was a driving layup when Jordan laid it almost off the top of the backboard to get it over Ewing.”
    Coach Smith agrees: “I thought it was a great drive, and then I saw Patrick (Ewing) come in and it flashed through my mind that it was going to be blocked. That was a sensational shot.”
    In looking back, Jordan couldn’t explain why he shot the layup with his left hand…he almost always used his right.
    Just a thought or two, Stephen.

  3. Obviously Hugh didn’t get the winning shot. What a shame. But it is a lot of fun to try and keep up with what the two of you are doing, and I do appreciate all you do,
    Regards, Julia

  4. I have the NC National Championship 82 book. Michael Jordan signed his autograph on the page titled The Winner . He signed it at an autograph signing around 1984 at a store called Sport Station USA. I would like to sell it to the right person if anyone is interested. Charlotte NC Lee T

  5. yeah….., i love jordan very much and got his autograph when i met him at brazil in a donation program last year, and recently i got a copy of this book 82, its awesome, and i never forget that moment when he gave me his autograph, thank you jordan

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