On Good and Evil

As we prepare for the NCAA title game, one of two scenarios will play out tonight:

1) A nation will rejoice in the felling of that foul behemoth Duke at the hands of a mid-major underdog, while David Simon Cowell slinks off into the night, sad and alone in his disappointment.


2) A nation will turn off its televisions in disgust as Coach K cuts the nets down for the umpteeth time, while David Simon Cowell lights a victory cigar, cackles with evil delight and delights in our misery.

Yes, friends, it’s true. David Simon Cowell is a Duke fan. No, he didn’t attend Duke. None of his relatives attend Duke. He just likes them for who they are and what they represent. If this surprises you, go read his post about how terrible the NCAA tournament is to get a better handle on his America-zigs-I-zag brand of provocation.

So let’s take a peek under the hood and see what it is about Duke that DSC admires. (I can’t imagine it’s the argument made by this guy at Deadspin, which boils down to “The guys on this Duke team aren’t as evil as previous Duke teams, so please don’t hate us! Plus, I go to Duke now, and I don’t hate them, so neither should you!”) Your honor, the prosecution presents the case against Duke University and Michael William Krzyzewski, after the jump.

The Players
Over the past 25 years, Duke has constantly imported a stream of the most loathsome college basketball players imaginable. Half of them could pass for Robert Chambers, the Preppy Rapist, and they’re consistently the dirtiest, most smug douches you can find anywhere. Duke players all fit a mold. Billy Packer and Dick Vitale wet themselves over these guys because they’re “scrappy,” “intelligent,” and “play the game the white way.” Um, I mean, “right way.” But they ignore all the cheap elbows, pathetic whining to the refs, and thuggish behavior that’s become a remarkably consistent pattern over the years. Just take a look at some of these fucks:

  • Christian Laettner. It all started with Laettner and Bobby Hurley. Before them, Duke was just another college basketball program. When they played Louisville in the 1986 championship game, nobody really hated Duke yet. But that’s because we were just getting to know them. Familiarity with them would breed a national contempt not seen this side of the New York Yankees or Russell on Survivor. The Laettner/Hurley teams of the late ’80s/early ’90s started it all. Laettner was the preppy lacrosse player you hated in high school — not the enforcer who got into fights after school, but the guy who would have his enforcer buddies beat you up for him. He was a bully and a baby rolled into one. Just look at this:

Laettner serves as one of two prototypes for Duke players: the arrogant, cocky All-American who’s had everything in life go his way, and turns into a seething, entitled ball of hate when something actually goes wrong. The other prototype was his partner in crime…

  • Bobby Hurley. Ah, the original Duke scrapper. He hustles! He’s gritty! He’s like a coach on the court! (Translation: he’s a dirty player and he’s not very talented. Like David Eckstein, if Eckstein constantly slid in spikes up and tagged baserunners hard in the head.)
  • J.J. Reddick. When this pretty boy isn’t flashing the shocker to opposing crowds, he’s doing shit like this:

Also — he writes poetry.

My life story is read in poetic stages
I was once weak-minded, now I’m courageous
The cause and effect of a thousand actions
The mathematical breakdown of micro-fractions


I have a poem of my own:

What’s that, lo there yonder, do I see a Pap smear?
Nay, nay, friends, ’tis just J.J. Reddick’s NBA career

  • Steve Wojciechowski. AKA Bobby Hurley 2.0.

  • Gerald Henderson. Just for this:

Am I glad someone punched Tyler Hansbrough? Of course I am. But the play still exemplifies Duke’s cheapshot style. How does the media continue to lavish praise on Coach K when plays like this have piled up over the decades?

  • Carlos Boozer. A huge dick while at Duke, Boozer continued to show his true colors in the NBA by stabbing the Cavs in the back to take a payday in Utah. You see, when Duke players leave Duke, they don’t stop being Duke players. Once a Blue Devil, always a Blue Devil. And Blue Devils follow the stench of money anywhere.
  • Mike Dunleavy. Another in a long fucking line of precious coaches’ sons on the Duke assembly line, joining Hurley and famous flopper Chris Collins (although, really, flopping is synonymous with playing for Duke, so it’s cruel to single out Collins). Dunleavy is the perfect example of a Duke player being massively overrated by the ESPN-led media, leading to him being drafted way too high (see also: Duhon, Chris; Reddick, J.J.) and failing miserably in the NBA.

Believe me, I could go on. We’ve only the scratched the surface of the cockmonkeys who have played for Duke since the ’80s. We haven’t even touched on Cherokee Parks, Shavlik Randolph, Greg Paulus, or any of the current crop of rich, white, entitled fucks. But these players all come from somewhere, or rather, they’re all drawn in by a common center of gravity. Let’s take a closer look at the man who recruits all these shining pillars of society.

The Coach
What an admirable icon Mike Krzyzewski is. He graduates his players! He’s stayed at the same school for years and turned down big-money NBA offers! What a fucking hero. But let’s take a closer look at this Nietzschian Superman, shall we?

First of all, on the eve of this year’s championship game, Coach K had this to say:

What I think the great story is, tomorrow night is two private institutions playing for the national title. I don’t know how much that’s been done. I think that’s a pretty cool thing, to have two private institutions playing for the national title. It’s a pretty cool thing.

Yep, if that doesn’t encapsulate the elitist philosophy of Duke, I don’t know what does. Krzyzewski seems to truly believe that Duke deserves all the unwarranted accolades, attention and ridiculous referee interventions its received. Because they’re special.

The Blessed One is also, as Deadspin puts it, a humorless prig. The Indianapolis Star dared to print a picture of Coach K with doodled devil horns and mustache (yes, this is what passes for humor in Indiana). Coach’s response?

It was just juvenile. You know, my seven grandkids didn’t enjoy looking at it. That’s not Papi. You know, it is what it is, it’s very juvenile.

Um… “Papi”? This guy agrees that that’s not Papi.

Coach K also famously defended Gerald Henderson’s aforementioned Hansbrough punch by saying North Carolina shouldn’t have had their starters in late in a blowout. OK…so what was Henderson doing in the game, you vile hypocrite? In the aftermath of that incident, Krzyzewski also claimed he would suspend any Duke player who committed a “dirty play” for longer than a game. Really? How many games did you suspend Laettner for after he stomped an opposing player in the chest?

Maybe you can write off some of Coach K’s despicable behavior as trying to protect his players. Maybe. But how then to defend his absence from the team for an entire season due a back injury, that just happened to coincide with the worst team Duke has ever fielded? In 1995, he left poor Pete Gaudet to coach an awful squad that went 2-14 over the ACC season, while he was routinely spotted playing golf during his “recovery.”

OK, OK, so Coach K looks the other way (at the very least) when his team plays like thugs, and abandons ship at the first sign of trouble. Well, at least he runs a clean program. Oh, wait.

No, he’s actually been involved with recruiting violations — with Cory Maggette and Chris Duhon at the very least. See here for the details, but the gist of it is that Maggette and Duhon, or their families, both received payment from third-parties that could have, or should have, rendered them ineligible if they played for a program less revered than Duke, like oh, say, USC or Memphis. I know that this sort of thing goes on with virtually every big-time Division 1 program — but Duke and their enablers act like they’re above it all, like they’re the one virtuous school in a pool of filth. They’re not.

Incidentally, the article linked above also contains the charming anecdote in which Coach K screamed “Your son is going to fuck my program!” to the mother of a student reporter who had written unkind things about the team in the Duke student paper. Let us not forget that this man learned at the feet of Bobby Knight.

Is Coach K a scumbag beyond redemption along the lines of John Calipari? Maybe not. But he made this commercial, and that can’t be forgiven. “I don’t look at myself as a basketball coach, I look at myself as a leader who happens to coach basketball.” Of all the arrogant, pretentious, smarmy, ridiculous things to ever come out of this man’s mouth….

Hold on a second, I need to calm down.

/drinks cold glass of water

/pours cold glass of water over head

/takes Valium

OK, I’m back. In short, Mike Krzyzewski is charming as an eel. He’s a bad banana with a greasy black peel.

The Fans
Oh, the Cameron Crazy. That adorable breed of human who camps out every year for tickets, paints its face blue and white, and hurls filthy epithets at opposing players, coaches, ballboys, girlfriends.

This sick cult is filled with East Coast snobs who are so uncreative that their leaders distribute papers to them before each game ordering them what insults to yell at the other team.

Duke fans are the worst fans in sports. They make each game about themselves, and their egos, not the team they profess to love. They’re rich, and they’ve had their education paid for, but they weren’t quite smart enough to get into the Ivy League, and they have massive chips on their shoulder because of it. And that manifests itself in sheer cruelty, in the form of voluminous personal and offensive insults — at fucking college kids (says the guy who just spent 1,000 words tearing apart Duke players — but at least I do it from the veil of anonymity instead of the safety of a crowd). They represent groupthink at its worst, as they all give themselves to their vulgar collective, sacrificing any semblance of individuality.

Oh, and as you expect, they’ve been known to create a variety of racist chants, including “J.R. Can’t Reid This,” directed at UNC star J.R. Reid.

And let’s be honest, have you ever met anyone who went to Duke who wasn’t an irredeemable asshole?

We’ll leave the Crazies with this quote from Elton Brand, responding to a ridiculous e-mail from a Duke student lambasting him for daring to leave school early for the NBA:

Thank you very much, for reminding me of the reason why I left Duke. People like you can not and will not ever understand my situation. I’m sure daddy worked very hard to send your rich self to college. While real people struggle. I would also like to extend an invitation for you not to waste your or my time ever agin. Never being considered a part of your posh group of yuppies really hurts me to the heart. Yeah, right. Because I don’t care about you or your alumni.

A-fucking-men, Elton.

The System
According to CNBC’s Darren Rovell, Duke spent $394,068 per player last season. Butler spent $347,108 on player expenses for the entire team. It’s been said that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel. If that’s true, rooting for Duke is like rooting for the United States to nuke a Third World country.

No big-time NCAA sports program is perfect, and not every player who went to Duke is a jerk, but the ratio of positive media attention to sever systemic flaws at Duke is completely out of whack.

There’s a throughline from Duke’s coach to its players to its fans: they’re all smug, haughty in victory, and whiny in defeat. Duke’s defenders like to claim that the program exudes class. I can’t speak to what they exude, but I can see quite clearly how they behave and what they represent. And it’s not class.

Duke is the ultimate overdog, and anybody with any heart, with any soul whatsoever, will be rooting for Butler tonight (even though they’re from Indiana). Duke has it easier than any other basketball program, with their endorsement dollars, their easy regions in the tournament, their love from the networks. If there’s any justice in the world, the gifts they’ve been given won’t lead to another title.

Spoiler alert: there’s no justice in the world.



Filed under Sports Has AIDS, The Dilemma

2 responses to “On Good and Evil

  1. Pingback: The Most Embarrassing SI Sportsmen of the Year | Pop Culture Has AIDS

  2. Pingback: The 9 Biggest Douchebag Coaches in NCAA Basketball | Pop Culture Has AIDS

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