The Duke vs. North Carolina basketball rivalry is not just the biggest one in college hoops, but it’s one of the biggest in sports — both college and professional, alike — period.
Come basketball season, the students and players at each respective school don’t like each other a whole lot — not so surprisingly, the students actually share a mutual “hatred” for each other, rather than the players. Said North Carolina’s Antawn Jamison: “As players, we got along with the Dukies. It was some kind of respect, but the students, they’re going around egging the university.”
Grantland’s Patricia Lee did some digging to see whether the intense rivalries at the college level have carried over to the professional ranks, specifically in the NBA.
In Los Angeles, the Lakers and Clippers both feature players who attended Duke and North Carolina in college: the Lakers’ Kendall Marshall (UNC), Ryan Kelly (Duke), Nick Young (USC), and Jordan Farmar (UCLA); and the Clippers’ Antawn Jamison (UNC), Reggie Bullock (UNC), and J.J. Redick (Duke).
As one would expect, the rivalry between Duke and Carolina has transformed into good-natured needling and story-telling, Jamison explained:
Carolina guys stand by Carolina, Duke guys stand by Duke. They have Coach K, I had Coach Smith, it’s Roy Williams now, you know, it’s a friendly debate that goes on. The best coach, the Duke guys have been pretty good about it. I think the Carolina guys, the old-school guys, because we were so dominant, we really laid it on thick. But sometimes we just say stuff like, “J.J. acting like a Dukie over there.” We always tell our stories, things of that nature.
Later in her article, Lee touches on the rivalry between USC and UCLA.
Nick Young, who went 1-5 against UCLA during his time at USC, has to hear about it from current teammate Jordan Farmar:
We were looking up old stats on the games, see who had the most points, talking trash. They won more games than us, they got us, but they never really blew us out, so it was always a close game. He’s always trying to get me to wear his UCLA stuff, a jersey or a small little money bet, that’s pretty much all. Whoever wins talks trash.
It’s a fun, enjoyable, and easy read. Check it out here.