20 years of Nantzisms

April 4, 2011

The IoT team looks forward to the end-of-game Nantzism almost as much as "One Shining Moment."

The national title game can be a hit-or-miss affair.

The NCAA final can be as long on drama as any sporting event, but it’s often an anticlimax after two frantic weeks of March Madness. For every Duke-Butler, there are two or three Duke-Michigans. Or, even worse, Duke-UNLVs.

But there’s one thing you can always count on: the Nantzism. That’s Jim Nantz’s game-closing call, a cornball explosion that has attended the end of every title game since 1991, when Nantz joined Scooby Doo villain Billy Packer at the announcing table.

The Nantzism is a sacred event, even spawning its own aprocrypha. For instance, we’ve always remembered his 1999 call: “Just when you thought you can’t, UCONN! The Huskies win the national title!” This line has come up in IoT conversation many times over the years.

But when we watched the video for this feature, we found that he actually said something quite different: “Just when people say you can’t, you can! And UConn has won the national championship!”

That’s not much fun.

When Nantz is good, he’s bad. And when he’s bad, he’s spectacular. Here are our top Nantz calls of the last 20 years:
Read the rest of this entry »

Coach K responds to Jalen Rose

March 29, 2011

It took a few weeks, but Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski has responded to Jalen Rose’s charge that the only black players recruited by Duke are “Uncle Toms.”

Rose’s comments, Kryzezewski said on a Chicago radio station, were “very insulting to everyone here at Duke but especially, not just our African-American players, but any African-American students.”

Rose made his controversial comments in the ESPN documentary, “The Fab Five,” which aired two weeks ago. Most interestingly, K addressed his failure to recruit Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King:

“We were very successful against them and, to be quite frank with you, we recruited Chris Webber,” he said. “I didn’t recruit Jalen Rose because we had Grant Hill and I’m happy with that. We didn’t look at the other, Juwan Howard [because] we knew he wasn’t going to come to Duke. The other two kids we didn’t think were the caliber that could play as well as Thomas Hill and Brian Davis and Billy McCaffery. They’re good kids. They were good kids.”

That sounds reasonable to me. Duke’s group did win a national title.

Read more here.

Jalen Rose Says Uncle (Tom)

March 16, 2011

Like most of college basketball-loving America, Jeremy and I both watched ESPN’s “Fab Five” documentary on Sunday night. The film took me back to the peak of my sports fandom. As a die-hard Duke basketball fan, I was intrigued by the Fab Five in 1992, but I don’t remember having a visceral reaction. A year later, I was avidly on board with them. The documentary was a reminder of their singular on-court style and deeply challenging off-court style.

Since Sunday, the film’s racial politics have touched off debate. Most of the discussion has centered on the Fab Five’s racially tinged comments about Duke. Specifically, there’s been a lot of dissection of Rose’s assertion that the only black players Duke recruits are Uncle Toms. In the classic sense, Uncle Toms are black men who ingratiate themselves to whites. As Grant Hill points out in his rebuttal, Rose’s Uncle Tom seems to be something else: a black man with no discernible black qualities. Hill appears as the film’s chief example, although none of the Fab Five directly accuse him.

(I’m wondering when a certain Michigander will weigh in on this. I’d imagine plenty of big thoughts on this are floating around in that wrinkly head.)

Rose’s teammates — Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and Juwan Howard — spoke harshly of Duke. And hilariously: Christian Laettner was a b****. But their name-calling fell within the realm of generally accepted competitive trash talk. Rose went farther, launching a political attack against Duke’s recruiting practices. I hesitate to take his comments seriously now. As mentioned elsewhere, Rose was acknowledging his feelings from 20 years ago, not necessarily stating a current opinion.

The Uncle Tom discussion was one of many points where I wished Chris Webber had been involved. Read the rest of this entry »

Repent, Rashad McCants!

September 15, 2009
Former UNC/Wake Forest/Michigan basketball player shows off the education he got from those fine institutions.

Former UNC/Wake Forest/Michigan basketball player Makhtar N'Diaye shows off the education he got from those fine institutions.

I know that neither Rashad McCants nor Makhtar N’Diaye is particularly relevant (a.) during football season or (b.) in 2009. But I couldn’t help feeling giddy when I read this exchange between McCants and News & Observer blogger Robbi Pickeral:

Q: What does it mean to you that Makhtar Ndiaye, Shammond Williams and several other former UNC players reached out to you over alumni weekend?

A: It means that they actually care about my progression as a player and a person, and that they feel that I’ve been wrongly treated. And to hear that from another perspective is amazing; it’s amazing to feel appreciated, that guys [four] years later are saying, ‘Man, you’re so good – how are you not on a team right now? It’s unfair to you, it’s unfair to us as fans of yours to not see you playing right now.’ So that alone, to me, is just breathtaking?

Suppose you were a professional athlete. And suppose someone asked you to imagine the clearest sign possible that your career (or life) was headed in the wrong direction. Could you come up with a better answer than, “Makhtar N’Diaye led an intervention for me”?

That’s the same Makhtar N’Diaye who once drew a five-second inbound call while waving at a friend in the stands. In an NBA D-League game.

The same Makhtar N’Diaye who accused a University of Utah player of calling him the n-word in a 1998 Final Four game. Then recanted several days later, forcing UNC’s chancellor to write letters of apology to half the state of Utah.

You’re on a bad path, Rashad.