Maybe you don’t know it yet, but when you step onto campus you’ll realize the basketball players you grew up watching on primetime television aren’t that different from you and me.
With a campus culture that revolves around basketball for months at a time, it can be easy to forget sometimes. The UNC-Duke game reaches every nook and cranny of Chapel Hill every year and the towering figures you see walking along campus might not look like the average student.
And to be clear, in some ways they are different. Not many of us in this world were awarded the athletic prowess or vertical abilities to dunk with ease, or dribble circles around world-class college defenders. Not many of us grew up to be almost seven-feet tall, or will have to answer to the media on a daily basis for our mistakes.
But you’d be fooled to believe those 18 to 22 year olds — athletes our own age who are almost never thought of that way — don't have a lot in common with the rest of us.
When I first stepped on this campus, I thought it was weird to be walking alongside athletes I’d only ever seen on ESPN, or from the nosebleeds of the Dean Dome. It was strange to see Joel Berry, Luke Maye, Brice Johnson or Marcus Paige standing in line at the Chick-fil-A in Bottom of Lenoir, or walking to class. But I got used to it.