Was Coach K out of line?

Mike Krzyzewski head coach of U.S. gestures during their FIBA Basketball World Championship game against Tunisia in Istanbul September 2, 2010.   REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Adrian Wojnarowski thinks Mike Krzyzewski’s response to Russian coach Mike Blatt’s comments about the ’72 gold medal game was out of line.

Long story short, Blatt (who holds dual citizenship in Israel and the United States) said that he thought the Russians deserved to win that controversial gold medal game 38 years ago. Coach K said that Blatt was a “Russian” (for coaching the Russian team) and that Blatt’s opinion was something of a “fairy tale.”

Enter Wojnarowski and his soap box…

To get past the dogged, undermanned Russians, Krzyzewski riled up that old Russian hate for his players and the public. It sniffed of desperation, but Duke’s coach isn’t taking the chance of becoming the first national coach in history to fail in winning consecutive world championships. Never mind the myth of sportsmanship in international basketball, Krzyzewski used up and spit out a most disposable Blatt.

Krzyzewski played the patriotism card to his advantage with Team USA, and yet later didn’t want the accountability of its ownership.

[Kryzewski] would get [the win], but not before sacrificing the good name of Blatt. When it was over, Krzyzewski gushed about Blatt’s genius, but that was easy at the game’s end. He had tagged him as a non-American for coaching those Russians, and labels are hard to shake when they come out of the mouth of a Hall of Fame coach. Yes, we’re friends, Coach K said. Friends, indeed. What a desperate, low-rent stunt.

Count me among those that find it very odd when national teams are helmed by coaches not from the same country. I just don’t get it. So Blatt’s coaching the Russian team seems strange to me, and when I first heard Coach K’s comments, I didn’t have a problem with them. Of course Blatt is going to say that the Russians deserved to win that gold medal. He knows where his bread is buttered.

Blatt, of course, says he came to this conclusion independently, after watching a documentary about the game. Fine. But he’s the one that brought the subject up and Krzyzewski responded. It’s still painful subject for USA Basketball and Blatt was the one who started the conversation.

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