Even without his whistle, it turns out that the greatest hoops coach of all time still likes to let you know who’s in charge.
By Brady Langmann, Published: Oct 7, 2022
Exactly 142 days after Coach K became Mr. K for the first time in nearly 50 years, Mike Krzyzewski is telling me about his MasterClass. John Legend did one! So did Robin Roberts. The next day, he’ll jet off to Vegas, speak at a convention, play video poker, and take his wife, Mickie, out to eat. When Krzyzewski returns to Durham, you’ll find the man in his yard, pruning trees and handing out kibbles to his puppy—named . . . wait for it . . . Coach—who, of fucking course, “is actually a really good athlete.” Retirement! It happens. Even for a guy who won 1,202 college basketball games.
“In retirement, although I’m not retired,” Krzyzewski, 75, clarifies, “I’m doing all the things I want to do.” I’d take a wild guess that talking to me wasn’t numero uno on his post-Duke bucket list. But he picked up the phone to promote Netflix’s The Redeem Team, out now, which gives the Last Dance treatment to the 2008 men’s U. S. basketball team. In a documentary with mega personalities like Carmelo Anthony wisecracking throughout, it’s the team’s head coach, Krzyzewski, who gets all the holy-shit moments—like, for example, scaring LeBron James straight by bringing in Iraq vets to talk to the squad about their idea of service. “I was very emotional at different points,” Krzyzewski says of reliving it all, “obviously in watching the footage of Kobe and his little girl and his wife.”