As the Duke-North Carolina game at Cameron Indoor Stadium nears, and as more students vie for tenting spots than ever before, it’s worth remembering just how out of hand, perhaps, the rivalry grew in 1998.
In the summer of 1997, burglars stole a number of items from the Duke Hall of Fame, including three jerseys from Grant Hill, Christian Laettner and Dick Groat.
In response, and to bother Tar Heel fans just for fun, four Duke students stole Michael Jordan’s jersey from the rafters of the Dean Dome on Feb. 2, 1998.
Tar Heel fans responded by stealing Duke’s Grant Hill jersey, but Duke was able to replace it.
The fans from Duke used belaying equipment in the middle of the night to pull off the stunt. They planned to tape over Jordan’s 23 with “33,” Hill’s number, and change the name from “Jordan" to “Hill" with tape as well.
However, the day of the Duke-UNC game—more than three weeks after the jersey had gone missing—the plan went awry. The students had hoped to reveal the jersey outside of Cameron right before the game, but a worker for Duke accidentally found the jersey by pulling the fishing line it was attached to.
The Chronicle interviewed the pranksters in 2008 to look back on the occasion. It might also conjure up memories of when Duke fans stole the North Carolina ram in 1942, then lost it and also found out they stole the wrong one.
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