a recent documentary came out on the fab five, a group of five players all in the same class at the university of michigan during the 1991-1992 and 1992-1993 ncaa basketball seasons. an interesting story, but perhaps with a bit of revisionist history and shot taking by jalen rose, one of the fab five, who conveniently was the executive producer of said documentary. one of the comments he made was that coach k recruits a certain kind of player, and blacks he recruited were seen as "uncle toms". he qualified his statement by saying that those were his thoughts as a teenage kid, but nonetheless, the bitterness and the insistence that he still recruits certain blacks highlighted a bitterness and resentment he had against duke players.
i suppose this image of duke being elitist and the fab five being the "people's players" definitely fostered an "us vs. them" mentality over the years, and have painted duke as a program that has players an fans from the bourgeois. remnants of this image are probably what have created more and more duke hate over the years.
i get it. people hate duke because their players come off as arrogant pricks who aren't that great. their students seem like the privileged spoiled winklevi twins in the social network movie. they get way too much media coverage. they get all the calls. the cameron crazies are annoying. i partially examined why last year in this post.
one championship later, we're still the most hated college basketball team in the country.
some of the reasons are true. some of them are half true. some of them are false. some of the reasons are just whiny.
but this isn't really going to be about appeasing the haters for whatever reason they hate duke, for that is beating a dead horse to oblivion. people are going to hate who they want to hate, for whatever reason they want to, and that's their privilege as a sports fan. i'm done trying to change minds.
and so, all i can say really is my response to that hate. this post made last year by a duke/yankees blogger sums up what i think, that at some point, there's no real arguments to be made.
we are going to remember joe alexander screaming in our faces, and joe mazzulla slapping the floor mocking us in victory. then we're going to torch them by 21 in the final four two years later.
we're going to remember all the hate that was poured on us, which will rile up even more pride in our dukies. we love when you hate us. cause haters gon hate.
i was somewhat disappointed this year when kyrie irving went down this year. because with him, we truly had a shot at being an undefeated team, the first in 35 years. it might be spoiled to want an undefeated season. but i wanted duke to make a statement to silence the haters, when we announced, we're back, we're going to win, and there's nothing you can do about it.
but i'll have to settle for his return this weekend for the start of march madness. it's almost scarier this way for other opponents, to have a mystery factor behind their opponent, a secret weapon they've been stashing all this time only to unleash at the final moment. an ace in the hole, if you will. it'd be awesome to watch him just dominate and watch him play his way to the #1 pick of this year's NBA draft. sweet justice, indeed.
i must admit, anything but another championship would be a disappointment. i can count on hundreds of messages, emails, wall posts and taunts if duke loses.
maybe i'll surprise you guys, and be gracious when we don't.