There I was, minding my own business, just scrolling through Twitter a couple of days ago, when I happened upon this little nugget from a third-party Duke account:
The tweet proudly proclaims that Duke currently has 23 players in the NBA and 17 of them will be playing when games re-start later in July. The other six are likely on one of the eight teams that didn’t qualify for Orlando.
The tweet goes on to mention how UNC has 14 total NBA players, and 13 excluding Vince Carter.
The not-so-subtle implication is that Duke has more players on the 22 teams playing in Orlando than Carolina does in the entire NBA.
I’m really not even sure where to start in on this, so let’s tackle what’s right in front of us first:
The facts about Carolina are incorrect. On June 24, the Spurs signed Tyler Zeller, making 15 Tar Heels in the NBA. This tweet from @UpdateDuke was posted on June 27, plenty of time to update numbers and get facts straight.
And yes, it makes sense to say “13 excluding Vince Carter” since he is officially retiring. I’ve got no problems there (other than that it should be “14 excluding Vince Carter”).
To sum up, Duke has 23 players in the NBA to Carolina’s 15.
Additionally, Duke has 17 players who will be part of the restart to Carolina’s nine.
If this is a victory the Blue Devils want, they can have it. If that’s what Duke wants to celebrate, let them celebrate.
Congratulations Duke, you currently have eight more players in the NBA than UNC does and eight more players participating in the rest of the 2019-20 NBA season. Good for you.
But really, let’s put those participation numbers aside and celebrate some numbers actually worth celebrating.
I’ll pose a question: What do you like to celebrate?
I personally like to celebrate championships and honors and awards.
Quite honestly, if I was someone who wanted to celebrate something about NBA success, I think I would tout different numbers than the number of players on rosters. I would commemorate championships rather than participation.
For example, if I were Duke, I would celebrate that Blue Devil alums have won seven NBA championships. Actually, I probably wouldn’t because I would realize that Michael Jordan won six by himself and that Tar Heels have won a combined 34 NBA championships. That’s just shy of five times the number of championships for Duke players.
Perhaps Duke could recognize the number of NBA MVPs. Actually, we probably shouldn’t go there either. Duke doesn’t have any. Carolina has six.
What about the number of NBA All-Star selections? Duke has 24 of those. Definitely worth tweeting about! Oh. Wait. Carolina has 63 NBA All-Star selections.
Duke has placed seven players on the All-NBA Team. Carolina has 25.
Duke has 15 entries on the NBA All-Rookie Team. Carolina has 20.
Duke players have made an NBA All-Defensive Team three times. Carolina players have made it 20 times.
Three Blue Devils have been named NBA Rookie of the Year. That honor has gone to five Tar Heels.
Duke has had a good number of great scorers throughout the years. Maybe we should look at all the names of Duke players littering the NBA Top 100 career scoring list. What’s that you say? There’s only two? And they’re numbers 95 (Grant Hill) and 97 (Elton Brand). Carolina, on the other hand, has five players in the top 100: Michael Jordan (#5), Vince Carter (#19), Antawn Jamison (#46), Walter Davis (#51), and Bob McAdoo (#64). That doesn’t even take into account that Jerry Stackhouse (#102), James Worthy (#104), and Rasheed Wallace (#112 – tied) are lurking just outside the top 100.
It’s all coming clear now. I think I understand where this Duke Twitter handle is coming from. It all adds up. I know now why they are celebrating having more players in the NBA currently than Carolina:
You celebrate having more players on NBA rosters when having more players on NBA rosters is the only thing you have to celebrate.
The only logical conclusion and appropriate way to end this article is by saying: It's (ALWAYS) a great day to be a Tar Heel.
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