A Blatant Attack Against Duke "Fans": Why Do You Don Duke Blue?

Ari KramerSenior Analyst IINovember 22, 2008

Last night, I attended the consolation and championship games of the 2k Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament.

As UCLA defeated Southern Illinois in the consolation game, Madison Square Garden was as empty as the fourth quarter of a 2007-08 Knicks game. The crowd consisted of a few Saluki parents and die hard fans, a few sections of Bruins' fans, and fans, like my brother and I, who just wanted to see good college basketball.

The Garden began to fill up toward the end of the second half of the consolation game, and I got kicked out of the seats I was sitting in and had to move back to my nosebleeds seats.

From high up, I was able to see that the Garden had been covered by Duke blue.

Gerald Henderson opened up the game with a sweet-stroked jumper, and Madison Square Garden erupted as the ball fell through the net. The crowd was louder than any Knick game I have ever attended—not saying much, but true—and I wondered how so many Duke fans were able to make the trip up from North Carolina.

Of course, about two percent of the Blue Devils' fans came up from Durham, ten percent had actual ties to Duke, and 88 percent hopped on the bandwagon.

Obviously, the fans who have personal ties to Duke University have a real reason to be loyal to the Blue Devils. As far as I'm concerned, personal ties include being an alum and having a family connection. That's about it.

Every Duke "fan" tries to justify their loyalty.

"My friend went to Duke." They don't mention that they rooted for their local college until they watched the 1999 ACC Championship rout of North Carolina with this friend.

"My camp counselor went to Duke and told us stories about the Cameron Crazies. I had to become a Duke fan after that summer." They don't tell you that that summer was in 1991 after Duke won their first National Championship.

"I started a 'career' as Duke in March Madness 2004. J.J. Redick averaged 40 points for my team, and I simply fell in love with the Blue Devils." They neglect to remind you that Duke was rated a 99.

The point is, the majority of Duke fans are not fans for the right reasons.

The man sitting in front of me last night was a loud, obnoxious Duke "fan" from New York City. This guy was sitting with his friends, and mentioned that he didn't attend Duke but only roots for Blue Devils.

He didn't know the players by their corresponding names, insisting that Kyle Singler was Greg Paulus. If this guy really loves Duke as much as he claims to, he would be able to recognize Paulus after three full seasons of watching him play. That is...if he actually watches Duke games on TV.

**Please note that this man was not drunk and that you can see the players clearly, even from the nosebleeds, at Madison Square Garden.**

The fact is that the Garden was filled with people like this man.

I bet that 20 percent of Duke "fans" at the game know that Mike Krzyzewski first came to Duke for the 1980-81 season.

I bet that five percent of the "fans" at the game know how to spell Krzyzewski.

I bet that 35 percent of the "fans" at the game know that Duke did not win a national championship until 1991.

I bet that 60 percent of the "fans" know that Carlos Boozer was on Duke's last championship team.

I bet that 100 percent of the "fans" are thoroughly livid after reading this article.

To all Duke alumni and fans with real substantial ties to the Blue Devils, know that this was not an attack against you.

Also, know that I have multitudes of respect for Coach K and the Duke basketball program, even though I hate the Blue Devils at the same time.