The following is a special public service announcement from the Corndogg. -Matt
If there were ever a post that would represent the commitment we have to our tagline (see above), this is it. Follow along.
First off, let me say this. I am a bigger, more passionate fan of Duke basketball than any of you are for any team you pull for. Period. This hurts almost as much as hearing the words “And with the 3rd pick in the NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select (insert name here).” But, I am going to write it anyway, because the coincidences are not just coincidences anymore. They are facts.
Coach K has spent the better part of 30 years attempting to turn Duke University into a haven for the most thoughtful, intelligent, sincere and respectful student athletes around the country. He believes in teamwork, commitment, selflessness and passion. He believes in the power of a handshake and in ethical conduct (he even has his own monument attesting to that fact). But really, no matter how much you hate Duke or the players or how they play, at least K has tried to recruit honest, loyal guys.
(Ed note. I know most of the people reading this hate Duke and are probably choking down vomit after reading that paragraph. But really, in comparison to all the garbage and cheating going on in college athletics, Duke is a premier college basketball program, in talent and integrity. )
But man, I have never really noticed how so many Duke guys are A$$holes once they get to the NBA. I never thought I could say that. But really, after the whole Brand fiasco, I kind of needed to say it. If I am truly the fan I say I am, and as discerning and objective as I claim to be, then I have to speak the truth (well, at least my version of the truth). Let’s do a rundown of some of the most infamous bad boy Dukie behavior in the league. For the sake of brevity, I will keep it only to the modern era Duke players that have truly devastated teams in the league. J.J. Redick does not count just yet, Duke haters.
1) Danny Ferry – Selected 2nd overall by the Clippers (remember that name, they will be coming up again later) in the 1989 NBA Draft. Ferry famously decided that he would rather spend a year in Italy than play for the woeful Clippers, thus forcing a trade the next season. Luckily for the Clips, they got Ron Harper out of that deal. Ferry sucked his way through the league for over a decade, eventually becoming a champion on the coattails of Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Now he is actively trying to make Lebron James detest Cleveland and leave as fast as possible.
2) Christian Laettner – Not coincidentally, my favorite Dukie of all time. Famous for chest stomping, preening and generally being the best college basketball player of the last 20 years. However, he pouted his way through Minnesota, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Washington, Golden State and Miami. For what its worth, nearly all of those teams were terrible during the time he was with them, but that’s no excuse for being upset that people though Shaq and Zo would be better NBA players than you. They were right. Never, ever looked happy playing basketball again after he left Duke.
3) Bobby Hurley – Convinced Sacramento he was worth a lottery pick. Got into an awful car wreck (not his fault). However, he wasn’t wearing a seat belt, something he should have learned with a stellar Duke education. Infamous for being a traitor and wearing an Indiana jersey in the movie, Blue Chips.
4) Grant Hill – Not really an A$$hole. But still, he swindled more money out of Orlando than Rashard Lewis, relatively speaking. At least Lewis knows what it is like to play more than 20 games a season in Orlando. Those ankles of Hill's are a crying shame.
5) William Avery – An A$$hole to the Duke staff (which he foolishly ditched after the 1999 National Championship game) and to the NBA (where he floundered hopelessly). One of the few Dukies about whom I don’t mind writing this.
6) Jason Williams – Could be the best point guard in the league right now. Instead, he wrapped his motorcycle around a tree and cost the Bulls millions (both in ticket sales, salary and hope). Was never the same again. Why does God hate Jason Williams, yet love Kellen Winslow? It’s a cruel, cruel world.
7) Carlos Boozer – One of the NBA’s most notable hustlers. Gave the old “Duke handshake” to the Cavs by opting out of his minimal contract, stating he would re-sign with them (keep this in mind, as it will come up again later). Instead, took a pile of cash to go to Utah. Dukie crossing Dukie. An all-time crime. Now, everyone insists he is eyeing Miami next year when he becomes a free agent, leaving the Duke-esque Jazz with nothing but dust in the wind. We will see how this plays out.
8) Corey Maggette – “All I want to do is win.” Not true. All Corey wants to do is get paid (not that different from most other NBA players). But that is the thing, Dukies should set themselves apart. So, instead of trying to get a ring with the Spurs or the Celtics, Maggette took the bundle of cash that fellow alum Elton Brand dissed in Oakland and is signing with the soon to be miserable Warriors. Yuck.
9) Elton Brand – The moral compass of Duke. Elton has always been stoic, revered and loved by everyone he has been around. He has been loyal, forgiving and hard working, despite any awful circumstances surrounding him. Just a few days ago, we thought he opted out of his contract with the Clippers (a team that has loved him like a mother) so they could upgrade their talent and then resign him. They went and got Baron Davis. Elton decided it was better to skip town and take more money from Philly. I guess it isn’t as bad as taking the pile of cash from Golden State and going somewhere you can’t win. But geez, Elton, you are gonna make Bill Plaschke cry. Wait, that’s not such a bad thing. But still, you are now the newest and biggest curse on the other L.A. franchise. I would wear a Rip Hamilton-esque facemask when you go back. They throw batteries. No wait, you are already in that city. I guess they throw giant belt buckles in L.A. Either way, I bet they hurt.
So, there you have it. The modern run down of Dukies and their disreputable, disrespectful and conniving indiscretions whilst in the NBA. But you know what, I still love them. Like a drug addict loves heroin, the day he gets out of rehab. And now that I said it, I feel like a more insightful, better fan than ever before.
And, believe me, Brand is gonna kick some A$$ in Philly. They’re my new favorite team! And, I am still a little biased. GO DUKE.