Monday, April 5, 2010

Kiss the Rings - DUKE!

Congrats to the Champs! I've waited nine years to celebrate a title again and it feels sweet watching Duke celebrate.

Now you may wonder why I'm a fan. If you know my fandom - Duke basketball is right up there with UCLA.

It's rare seeing a Black dude openly root for Duke who didn't play on the team - the team epitomized Whiteness and 20 years ago UNLV (with their all-Black swagger) destroyed them. Then in 1991, Duke beat them and the Fab 5, both teams that most Black fans were HUGE fans of because they brought an urban flair to the game.

Throw in the fact that Duke has some of the most hated players in college basketball - Christian Laettner (who I hate), J.J. Redick, Greg Paulus (who I hated from Day 1) - and Duke doesn't tend to recruit great Black players (Nolan Smith was a rare All-American), most fans don't like them.

I'm a big fan of Duke because of the 1998-99 squad - one of the best teams never to win a title. Elton Brand, Will Avery, Corey Maggette, Trajan Langdon and Shane Battier captivated me and I was pissed when they lost to Rip Hamilton and UConn.

I'm a fan because I watched the 2000-01 squad win a title with Battier, Jay Williams, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Chris Duhon. One of my favorite squads ever (2 Wooden Award winners, 4 in the NBA b/c J. Will - a smart player - screwed up his career on that motorcycle)

I'm a fan because of Grant Hill and Bobby Hurley. Hill's the only Duke player to have a HOF worthy career in the NBA and Hurley was a cold point guard in college. who screwed up his NBA career because he didn't wear a seat belt.

I'm a fan because I seriously considered attending Duke primarily because I loved the basketball team, loved the prestige of the institution. I figured I'd fit in because higher learning was my style - BUT that Carolina weather was a turn off. Plus the year I would've been a senior was the infamous "rape scandal" that shocked the nation and I would've probably been in thick of the furor only to apologize later like I did.

(I wrote a comm paper describing the coverage of the incident - one of the last papers I wrote)

But I love the program. I respect Coach K as one of the game's best mentors. I love the class and grit Duke stands for as well as the great players who came from it.

Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler plays with toughness and skill and both should be in the NBA at some point. Nolan Smith - who I saw play in HS - has an NCAA title to match his late father who won one at Louisville. And tonight, I'm happy as heck - time to dust off my Mike Dunleavy Jr. jersey.

No comments:

Post a Comment