The controversy surrounding comments made by Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry about NBA star Luol Deng must hit home for Team USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Both men played for Coach K at Duke, and both were prized recruits for Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils. Krzyzewski cultivates a camaraderie and loyalty among Duke basketball players throughout the generations–it’s part of what makes his Duke program so attractive to star recruits. And Duke players making it to the NBA often benefit from the Duke network that’s prominently placed throughout the league in management and on coaching staffs.
Ferry was recently exposed as assessing, in his capacity as a talent evaluator for the Atlanta Hawks, Luol Deng as a “good guy over all.” But then Ferry added this to the Deng dossier: “He’s not perfect. He’s got some African in him.” Deng graceully–and forcefully–responded in a letter that reads in part: “I’m proud to say I have a lot of African in me, not just ‘a little.'” The Duke bonds may not be strong enough to withstand a racially based insult. But Krzyzewsk has always been good at finding common ground–and Duke itself, founded in part by money derived from enslaved Africans, could play an interesting role as the dialogue progresses.
The full statement from Luol Deng: pic.twitter.com/qw3qQfuFvy
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 9, 2014