Whenever March Madness rolls around, the Duke Blue Devils fan base grows by the millions. However, when the NBA Title gets handed out each June, that same Duke following is cut in half. The reasoning is this: legendary Blue Devils coach Mike Kyzyzewski has been coaching since 1980 and only two of his former players have NBA championship rings.
In that same time frame, the rival North Carolina Tar Heels have had 11 former players combine to win 25 NBA championships…ouch.
It’s gotten so bad that even the most casual NBA fans have grown familiar with the “Duke Blue Devils Curse.” However, the apparent bad spell was broken last summer when Shane Battier captured a title with the Miami Heat — just for good measure, Battier came back to Miami in 2012-13 and won another championship.
With that being said, the statistics still aren’t in the Blue Devils’ favor, which isn’t good news for Chicago Bulls fans.
On Wednesday the Bulls agreed to sign ex-Blue Devils forward Mike Dunleavy to a reported two-year deal worth $6 million. Dunleavy joins a Bulls team that already features Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng, who are both former-Duke standouts — Chicago now has three Kyzyzewski products which is more than any other NBA team. The signing makes sense on the floor, yet the aforementioned Blue Devil Curse has to put a scare the Bulls’ faithful.
It’s no accident that a Tom Thibodeau team has three former-Dukies on its roster — the Blue Devils are known for smart play and defensive tenacity, which are two things that “Coach Thibs” loves. Hopefully the curse can be broken for the third year in a row, but something tells me that Battier and Danny Ferry will be the only ex-Blue Devils to win an NBA title for quite some time.