Duke Blue Devils: Why We Hate Them

Shaun RouserContributor IApril 2, 2010

HOUSTON - MARCH 28:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils during the south regional semifinal of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Reliant Stadium on March 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

We hate Duke.

We hate the Cameron Crazies—especially that weird waving they do with their hands.

We hate how they smack the floor.

We hate Krzyzewskiville.

Duke is too much to take.

But before going on, it's important to say who "we" are.

We aren't Duke fans, obviously—although, I commend any of them who have continued reading this far without stopping to bang out a grammatically correct and righteously indignant comment.

Nor are we people who are simply ambivalent about Duke. If you're only interested in good basketball—regardless of whether Duke wins or loses—you are not one of us .

Nor, believe it or not, are we North Carolina fans.

The mutual disdain between the Tar Heel and Blue Devil nations would exist separate and apart from the rest of college basketball. The Tobacco Road rivalry proves that familiarity does breed contempt. The Dukies and Tar Heels are the Israelis and Palestinians of college basketball. 

We are the rest of America—whether you simply roll your eyes at the mention of Duke or you attempt to psychokinetically change the trajectory of every Duke jump shot.

We hate Duke—and, on its face, it doesn't make any sense.

Duke doesn't have the most wins in college basketball history.

Kentucky does.

And Duke hasn't won the most national championships.

UCLA has three times as many national championships, in fact.

But no other program seems to engender the type of reflexive, abstruse (the Dukies should like the use of that word) dislike as Duke does.

Not Kansas. Not Kentucky. Not UCLA. Not Indiana. Not North Carolina.

Was Tyler Hansbrough's pasty, open-mouthed visage any less goofy looking or better looking than Mike Dunleavy's hairless, Wally Cleaver face?

Nor could anyone argue that J.J. Redick's leave-my-follow-through-in-the-air, look- before-I-throw-a-no-look-pass preening was any more annoying than Danny Green's or John Wall's "dancing."

We hate Duke for what it is: elite and private.

Sure, Georgetown and Syracuse are private institutions and have successful basketball programs—athough not as successful as Duke. And maybe if either of those programs won the way Duke wins, we 'd hate them too.

But that's doubtful, because those institutions seem within reach to the rest of us.

They don't embody the combination of on-court/off-court excellence and exclusivity that Duke does.

To the rest of us , the Dukies seem to have it too good.

Even the name itself—Duke—sounds aristocratic.

Call it jealousy if you like—but, to borrow a cliche, it is what it is.

And they're beating us at our game, no less: basketball, not lacrosse or golf or—sorry for the stereotype—something equestrian.

Basketball is the democratic game, the people's game. Every neighborhood—urban or suburban, rural or city, rich or poor—is littered with basketball goals.

And, as such, it should remain the possession of the people and the public schools that we went to.

Sure, we'll find it within ourselves to root for Cornell during one tournament to make one run to the Final Four. But if they make it a habit, our hatred will for them grow, too.

It's the people versus the powerful—and being on the side of Duke is like being on the side of Walmart, Microsoft, or worse yet, Goldman Sachs.

But every good Duke hater has to recognize something paradoxical about his hatred: In order for the hate to mean something, to be truly satisfying, Duke has to win.

Duke is the perfect foe—and, as such, it has to advance to Final Fours and win championships.

Hoping a slightly above-average team fails isn't satisfying. In fact, it's just sad.

So, there's a part in all of us Duke haters that need the Blue Devils to win the national championship this year and to be in contention for years.

Accepting that truth, congratulations, Blue Devils. You've made another Final Four and are in position to win another national championship.

Oh, and, you suck.




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