Michael Jordan turned down Duke and Coach K.
This is really interesting stuff to me. A lot more interesting than perhaps the average person thinks of the situation. I think it’s because if MJ had picked Duke over their rival and his alma mater, it would have changed the world. Sounds like I’m reaching a bit, but let me explain.
If Jordan goes to Duke, do they win the title in 1983/84? I don’t know, but let us pretend they do because, after all, we are making stuff up here. That Duke squad featured Johnny Dawkins and a young Jay Bilas. They went 24-10 and won two games in the NCAA Tournament, so to say they win it all with MJ isn’t a stretch.
Coach K would now have 5 NCAA titles instead of four and that number might be the conservative number. Who knows how many more recruits Coach K lands by winning his first title in 1984 as opposed to 1991. How much closer would Krzyzewski be to Wooden’s 10 titles?
Or does success that early at Duke land him a job in the NBA where he ultimately fails like some many others who have made the jump. Does Coach K become another recyclable head coach jumping between low-profile NCAA gigs and NBA rebuilding projects for the next ten years until he settles down as a broadcaster?
I’m guessing if Jordan did end up playing in Durham, the corse of the entire NCAA world changes. Jordan has more swagger than anyone and he just so happens to be the greatest player to ever lace ‘em up. Him picking North Carolina influenced millions of teenagers to wear the ugly Carolina blue as a fashion statement for the entire span of the 1990’s. Kids aspired to grow up and attend North Carolina just to follow in his footsteps. And those shorts. Who didn’t buy a pair of XXL Tar Heel shorts just to wear them under our jeans. Don’t lie, you know you you’re guilty. I’m guilty, too.
How many of us would have rocked a pair of blue & black Blue Devil shorts instead? I’d wager that number is somewhere between all of us and definitely all of us. That’s the power of Jordan’s legacy.
And it doesn’t end there.
Would Coach K change his recruiting habits? Not that Duke discriminates. Well perhaps they do, but not on race but on wealth. Duke has always aimed their recruiting gun at those supreme athletes who have well off parents. This guarantees that Coach K doesn’t have to slip anyone a C-note come Friday and no player on his roster would go out looking for ways to make some cash on the side.
Landing Jordan changes all of that. It opens the door for all the future poor athletes who might not have been recruited by Duke. Maybe the Fab Five land in North Carolina instead of Ann Arbor and none of us have to suffer through this ridiculously annoying “he said, he said” “Uncle Tom” dialog between Duke and Michigan alums.
Or perhaps, Jordan could have landed in Georgetown.