By now we all know about Duke getting an early exit in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. And we probably have also heard about head coach Mike Krzyzewski going in the locker room to congratulate the Mercer players. He told them “If we got beaten, at least we got beaten by a hell of a basketball team.” and then wished them the best of luck.
Now, this is the part where the media hops on Coach K’s back and calls him a class act and slurps him for exhibiting respectable behavior. I’m going to take a little bit different angle here: I thought it was bullshit.
I don’t know if he asked Mercer’s coach for permission to go into the locker room – I don’t even care about that. What pisses me off about this not just how quickly the media will laud Coach K for doing anything that is somewhat respectable, but also that he felt the need to do this when it was really none of his business.
What Coach K basically did was walk into that locker room and just decide that whatever he was going to say to the team was more important than what Mercer coach Bob Hoffman was about to say. Now I do realize that before I started that sentence, you had no idea who the hell Bob Hoffman was but that’s not really the point here. Hoffman is on Mercer’s payroll and Coach K isn’t. It’s his job to motivate those kids to win the next game, not Krzyzewski’s…
I texted Dubs about this late Saturday afternoon, and he made the comment about how Coach K is going to be 68 and has been thinking about his legacy for some time now. He also brought up the fact that there is a possibility that everybody outside of Durham pretty much thinks he’s a dick. I don’t know if I’d go quite that far, but I do know that there is this angle the media tries to sell everyone which dictates that everything that comes out of Coach K’s mouth is law. That he’s the all-knowing God of basketball and sports leadership, and we should constantly bow down to everything he says. And if a couple of guys like us feel that way, you can only imagine the pressure that’s on some of these officials when he’s arguing a call. I just think that not enough people have called him out on it, and it’s getting to be a bit stale.
And while I’m bitching about stuff, how bad has our society gotten if we are simply giving people a boatload of credit for doing what we believe is “the right thing”? Doesn’t it kind of make guys like Pitino or Calipari feel a little bit like shit if we’re basically saying that the other guy is a sacred cow simply because he’s “not an asshole”?
Look, I get it that the guy’s a legend. I understand there is a reason that he’s chosen to stay in college basketball in order to avoid the many complications of the NBA and all it clearly does not have to offer him. But I also understand that any time you toss around the L word like that when describing someone who’s life’s work isn’t yet completed, there are some guys who are going to get away with doing or saying whatever they want and people are going to let them. I think we can respect Coach K’s greatness when it comes to the subject of being a basketball coach, but at the same time we shouldn’t have to hold him up to being an almost deity-like human being.
And if he’s nearly as flawless as everyone has been making him out to be all these years, surely he’ll understand…