Haters Gonna Hate

Intense from the bench
Hostile ground: Ohio State fans berate the Blue Devils during Duke’s loss to the Buckeyes earlier this season.

In early December, the satirical news outlet The Onion posted an article on its website with the headline: “Excited Mike Krzyzewski Says Duke Squad Hasn’t Been This Unlikable in Years.” The post included a faux quote by Coach K: “Obviously, we set the pace early with my all-time wins record and the never-ending, fawning media hoopla over that, and I think we’ve been able to stay consistently repellent since then.”

Blue Devil fans are used to being reviled. Read any online article about Duke basketball, and you can almost predict the vitriol that certain readers will churn out: blasting the team for being elitist snobs, having the referees in their pocket, getting away with blatant fouls, flopping. Or hurling invectives at Coach K because he cusses too much, doesn’t recruit players with “street cred,” has anger issues, is overpaid.

For his part, Krzyzewski insists that things aren’t nearly as bad as they were a few years ago. “Part of it is me being the national coach for the USA Team that won the Olympics. And part of it was the 2010 Duke National Championship team; it was tough to hate anyone on that team. I mean, come on, you’re going to hate Jon Scheyer?”

Krzyzewski says he’s not distracted or bothered by the haters. In fact, it affirms that he’s doing something right. “It’s not that people hate us, it’s that they hate the fact that we win. And I’m okay with that.”

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