Anybody that knows even the slightest thing about college basketball knows that North Carolina, specifically the central slice commonly referred to as Tobacco Road, is sort of like the Westeros of the sport, with UNC, NC State and Wake Forest all fighting for a piece of basketball glory, and Duke serving as the King’s Landing – the wealthy private school that is almost always dominant without showing much mercy to its opponents.
While the Lanisters have a hard time keeping a king on the Iron Throne, Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history, a guy who has been the reigning Team USA coach who already has two gold medals under his belt to go along with his five NCAA championships, is as legendary as they get.
So it would make sense that one of the state’s most beloved figures (beloved if you’re a Duke fan, that is) would eventually have to comment on North Carolina’s reprehensible House Bill 2 that peels back LGBT civil-rights laws, an act that some have called “a constitutional monstrosity.”
“It’s an embarrassing bill,” the Hall of Fame coach told USA Today. “That’s all I’m going to say about it.
It might not seem like much, but a coach doesn’t have to use a lot of words to make something stick. It’s taken Krzyzewski a bit more time to weigh in on the matter, especially considering UNC coach Roy Williams voiced his displeasure with the bill in March, while NC State coach Mark Gottfried said he was “appalled” by limits put on anti-discrimination protection against LGBT people. But in a college basketball-crazed state like North Carolina, one of the most legendary names the sport has ever known adding his voice to the chorus of dissenters could carry a lot of weight.
What could also go a long way is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s stance against the bill, an executive order that bans any state-sponsored, non-essential travel to North Carolina. That order’s impact is being felt in college basketball with the news that the November 12th game between Duke and Albany (a State University of New York school) at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium has been taken off the schedule. While neither of the programs go into the upcoming season as heavy favorites to win the championship in March (you never really know with Duke), the impact of the game being called off has been noticeable, especially with NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s looming decision whether or not to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina.