Opinion: I Hate Duke Basketball, and You Should Too

College basketball is finally back, and that means two things: the round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament, a.k.a. the two best days of the year, are only a few months away, and Grayson Allen’s smug, Ted Cruz-looking face is back and tripping people from D-III colleges because Duke basketball is built on a tradition of foul play.

Why do so many people hate the Blue Devils? Is it because we know we would not get accepted to Duke? Are we jealous of all of their national championships and constant success? Or is there something else, something truly sinister about the program that just attracts hatred?

Let us start with a little bit of history. Duke hating became extra cool in the late 1980s with the introduction of Christian Laettner, everyone’s least favorite college basketball player. Laettner set records in the NCAA tournament and boasts a number of clutch performances, namely the game-winning shot over Kentucky in the 1992 regional final. Sure, that’s what people focus on in that game, but Laettner also stomped on the chest of Aminu Timberlake of Kentucky. The truth is that the only record that matters for Laettner is his winning of an ESPN poll in which he was named the most hated player of college basketball ever. This guy was so widely reviled that ESPN made a 30 for 30 documentary called I Hate Christian Laettner. It does not take much to see that Laettner was a dirty player, and his general failure in the NBA surely amused most of the nation.

The tradition of Laettner’s hate-inspiring play was continued by other college standouts, including J.J. Redick, Kyle Singler, Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Jr., and Grayson Allen. Duke players are notorious for pretentiousness; all of the players named above had or have an “I go to Duke and you don’t” attitude.  Maybe that pompous attitude that us peasants are too simple to attend their perfect little college in oh-so-gorgeous Durham, North Carolina comes from the student population, specifically the “Cameron Crazies,” a fan section that is impressively foul. Maybe Duke’s recruiting team has an uncanny ability at finding guys who can shoot the ball while giving obscene gestures to opposing fans. The world may never know.

There are a multitude of other reasons that people hate Duke: referees constantly give them calls, players draw contact when there is none, they throw elbows or otherwise try to hurt the opposing team, and we all have to listen to Dick Vitale give so many excuses to Duke in a live broadcast you’d think Coach K had a gun to his head.

Whether you hate Duke for the pretentious players, the cheap play, the floor-slapping, the fan section, or just because it’s fun, there’s always room in the world for more Duke haters. A world which, according to Duke-educated basketball player Kyrie Irving, is flat.