Tommy Burleson was the literal centerpiece of one of the best college basketball teams in the history of the Carolinas — the 1974 N.C. State Wolfpack.
Burleson, point guard Monte Towe and high-flying forward David Thompson led that N.C. State team to a national championship, ending UCLA’s streak of seven consecutive NCAA titles in the national semifinal in double overtime and then beating Marquette in the final.
Anxious to christen Burleson as college basketball’s tallest player, N.C. State listed him at 7-foot-4. Burleson was actually 7-2, but he was also a far more athletic center than most people assumed. A mountain of a man, Burleson grew up in a tiny town called Newland in the mountains of western North Carolina. As a teenager, Burleson was nicknamed the “Newland Needle” due to his skinny build.
Burleson played for the U.S. Olympic team in 1972, where he had a terrifying experience. He was later named the two-time MVP of the ACC tournament, starring in one of the greatest college basketball games ever (https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/sports-legends) in the 1974 ACC tourney final against Maryland — a 103-100 Wolfpack win.
After a seven-year NBA career that ended in 1981, Burleson returned to North Carolina and his beloved mountains. Now 71, he’s been a larger-than-life presence in his home county of Avery, where he served as a county planner for decades and also had a Christmas tree farm with his three sons that helped fund his missionary work.
Sports Legends of the Carolinas is hosted by Scott Fowler. It’s produced by Loumay Alesali, Jeff Siner and Kata Stevens. For lots more on the show, visit
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Charlotte North Carolina – The Perfect Balance of Southern Comforts and Metropolitan Opportunities
Events, Life, Sports, Weather, News
One of the fastest growing cities in the US, Charlotte’s balance of Southern comforts and metropolitan opportunities continues to attract singles, couples and families looking for a better way of life. Known for its high-growth job market, the city offers a variety of housing options from trendy condos in downtown to family homes in nearby suburbs.
Lively downtown neighborhoods like Dilworth and NoDa offer a charming combination of historic homes and newer properties, with tree-lined streets and sidewalks. Nearby Concord offers a more suburban lifestyle with great schools, popular restaurants and breweries, and beautiful parks and golf courses.
For those who love a little competition, Charlotte is home to multiple professional and college sports teams. Check out a heated football game at the Spectrum Center, cheer on the Carolina Panthers NFL team, or take in a minor league hockey or basketball game.
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden also hosts Holidays at the Garden each November through December, where over a million lights will delight visitors. This is a perfect event to bring the kids along to experience some festive fun.
The city’s education system ranks above average, and there are plenty of quality public school choices for parents who want to stay close to home. Charter schools like Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, Charlotte Engineering Early College, and Ardrey Kell High School are among the top-rated options in the area. Plus, a number of highly rated private schools are available as well.