USA Basketball has put us -- we, the people -- in a difficult position: We're forced to root for Mike Krzyzewski.
|There is reason to root for Mike Krzyzewski, at least for this summer. (Getty Images)|
So we must root for Coach K. Mustn't we? This is a tough one. It really is. And it's not going to be over any time soon.
The FIBA World Championship is a lengthy process, and if all goes well -- right? -- the United States will be playing for a gold medal on Sept. 3 in Saitama. That's almost two weeks from now, giving us two weeks for introspection and soul-searching in the face of two normal but contradictory emotions:
I'll be the first to admit it: I've got 'em both.
Rooting for the United States in international competition is unavoidable. Even a heartless SOB like me pulls for the red, white and blue. Doesn't matter what the sport, if it's an international event and an American is competing, I'm rooting. Even in track, where I want our cheater to beat their cheater.
But rooting against Mike Krzyzewski is also unavoidable. Maybe I'm not speaking for Duke fans -- which means graduates of Duke, parents of graduates of Duke, and front-running ghouls who also root for the Yankees, Steelers and Wal-Mart -- but for everyone else, I'm speaking for you. It's OK.
Embrace your loathing of Krzyzewski. Whatever your reason, I'll buy it. His Duke team beats your team? Loathe him. His Duke team is on television too much? Loathe him. His commercials? His self-righteousness? His hypocritical imperiousness? Loathe him, loathe him, loathe him.
Rooting against Coach K is visceral, something you feel in your gut, like a pancreatic ulcer. Rooting against Coach K is the American way.
But the sadists at USA Basketball pulled a fast one on all of us by pairing the U.S. basketball team with the Duke coach. So now we're stuck, and again, I'll be out front here. I'll admit to spending the last month looking for reasons to like Mike Krzyzewski.