Duke Basketball. Just the name alone conjures an air of sophistication and haughtiness among basketball enthusiasts. Duke Hating, is of course, a national past-time.
Basketball, as Bill Simmons makes clear in his monumental tome The Book of Basketball, is a Black game (here is an interview with the basketball guru):
Eyes do not deceive. An arbitrary glance at an NBA roster will reveal a league that is 80 percent Black. An arbitrary glance at any NCAA basketball roster will reveal a roster that is 65-70 percent Black.
Why do you think race has been such an important issue with the NBA?
Because smaller rosters and basically from 1960 on the majority of the best players were black and that’s never happened in another sport. The tickets are expensive. It’s a mostly white audience paying to see a mostly black group of players. When you consider the way racial relationships have evolved since the 1950s, that’s a pretty interesting dynamic. In the 1960s, four of the best five guys in the league were black. You had (Bill) Russell, Wilt (Chamberlin), Elgin Baylor, Oscar (Robertson) and then you had Jerry West. Four of the best guys in the league were black while blacks in this country were fighting for civil rights at the same time. That was kind of the foundation.
Then in the late 1970s the league became very black all of the sudden. Guys were overpaid. The fans and the media turned against it. You can go and research it, there are newspaper articles and Sports Illustrated did a story ‘Is the League Too Black?’ Can you imagine anyone writing that now? So it’s always been an issue. Eventually it changed with Bird and Magic and then MJ - he was really the first black player that the league was able to really market and sell to all types of people. From then it’s been pretty good.
It surfaced again in the mid-to-late 90’s with Allen Iverson. People had trouble identifying with the cornrows and tattoos.
In the impressive biography Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel, the author lets slip that part of the mystique of Pistol Pete Maravich was his odd skin color that infrequently appears upon basketball stars skin. The DNA code that made up Maravich was supplied by Europeans, and he excelled at a Black sport like few Black players could dream of doing.
Kriegel tells us that Pistol Pete's father - a respected college basketball coach - thought that Black players would dominate the game, based on their physiological makeup.
He made this prognostication in the 1960s and has since been proven a soothsayer by time as the transformation of Dr. James Naismith's game into a playground for Black people was a mere formality.
Why are people afraid to say that Black people dominate basketball? Black people know this, and don't shy away from asserting their superiority on the hard court.
Thus, the ascension of a 29-5 team with a merely three Black people on their roster to a No. 1 seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament has befuddled not only Black people, but all of the basketball world.
You see, Stuff Black People Don't Like includes Duke Basketball. Duke plays a form of basketball long since outlawed at most major colleges - white basketball - and stands as one of the few schools holding out on implementing the individualistic Black game, as describe by Daryl Dawkins:
Dawkins: White basketball is pick-and-roll, spot-up, guy got his toes together and he shoots. And white guys will box you out until the ball hits the floor. Black guys will jump over you. They had all kind of shake-n-bake and would do everything to entertain the crowd. Nowadays, people appreciate both styles of ball; but back then, they didn¹t appreciate when a black guy just played white ball. They just said, "Hey, man, aint you got no flash in your game?"
Black players account for only 25 percent of the roster on Duke's 2010 edition and score only 32 percent of the teams 80.2 points per game.
Duke's 2010 ACC regular season and tournament champion team is a team that dares to be different when compared with other basketball squads for the mere near monochromatic racial makeup of the team.
This wouldn't be unique if the team was all-Black, but is merely so because basketball is a Black sport and Duke is conspicuously a white team defining the Gods of the game. Bleacher Report criticizes Duke for the lack of athleticism on the team (read whiteness):
To a logical person, this fear of a team deemed too white would seem outlandish, considering Duke landed a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but to basketball fans everywhere fed a daily diet of Black supremacy on the hard court, this amounts to the ultimate form of March Madness.
Another problem with Krzyewski's squad is their lack of athleticism.
While it would be silly to suggest that white players are not as good as black players, one must truly take a look at race on the Duke team.
Out of 12 players on the Duke roster who have played all season, only three are black. In today's game, that is an uncanny white player to black player ratio, and I can't think of any other top program that only has three black players on their squad.
It raises the question, why are the top black players passing up on Duke? Has Coach K, one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, lost his edge?
Because of their lack of depth, their poor inside game, and their lack of athleticism, this Duke squad is undeserving of their high ranking and will be exploited come tournament time.
Duke is 29-5, champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and a white team, led by white players.
The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports did a study of graduation rates for Sweet Sixteen (final 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament) for the 2009, and concluded that Duke graduates 100 percent of its white players and 86 percent of its Black players - an outstanding achievement.
The same cannot be said for other programs, where the graduation of their nearly all-Black teams is cause for major consternation:
Lapchick emphasized, “Race remains an ongoing academic issue because of the continued gap between graduation rates for white and African‐American student‐athletes including a significant disparity between white and African‐American basketball student‐athletes. The good news is that the GSR rates for both whites and African‐Americans are going up and the gap has narrowed slightly.If basketball is a Black sport and the ticket for many Black people to even entertain notions of higher education, why is it that Black people have such a difficult time attaining a degree?
“Yet it is the disparity that is troublesome. White male basketball student‐athletes graduate at 80 percent versus only 58 percent of African‐American male basketball student‐athletes. White female basketball student‐athletes graduate at 89 percent, while 75 percent of African‐American female basketball student‐athletes graduate. These 22 and 14 percent disparities are alarming, yet slightly improved from the 24 and 16 percent gaps respectively a year ago.”
At Duke, it appears that being around a predominately white team keeps away certain elements that correlate to rates of low graduation at schools featuring all-Black teams.
Regardless, Duke is a No. 1 seed, despite their lack of racial diversity and overwhelming whiteness:
You can bet Black people everywhere will be cheering against Duke and cheers of joy will be heard throughout the land when they succumb to a physiologically-superior majority Black team.
If Duke is able to advance to the second round they will take on the winner of eighth-seed California and ninth-seed Louisville on Sunday.
"We have a pretty tough bracket, but I think we are capable of beating anybody," senior captain Lance Thomas said. "As long as we play our game as far as defense, rebounding and just finishing, I think we will be fine against anybody."
The Blue Devils are winners of 12 of their last 13 games and will open up tournament play on Friday from Jacksonville, Fla. Duke is 4-2 in NCAA Tournament games in the state of Florida.
It is the 26th appearance for Duke in the NCAA Tournament under Coach K and the 34th appearance in school history. Duke is 13-5 all-time playing in the South Region of the bracket.
The Blue Devils captured National Championships as No. 1 seeds in both 1992 and 2001 having a 37-8 record as the top seed in a region.
It is Duke's 15th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
"It is very rewarding [to be a top seed], but at the same time you just move on, no matter who you are playing, where you are playing, you know you need to be prepared," senior captain Jon Scheyer said.
All will be right with the world then. Great white hopes must be dealt with quickly, swiftly and with extreme prejudice and Duke is no exception.