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.”
Bill Russell, who died Sunday at the age of 88, was a towering figure in American life. Standing, he went 6 feet, 10 inches. In history, he seemed to stride the continent like Paul Bunyan, like John Henry: mythical, impossible, huge.
He won basketball titles everywhere he went — high school, college, the pros, the Olympics — and won them over and over again. His coach, Red Auerbach, summed up his career of 11 NBA titles by describing him as “the single most devastating force in the history of the game.” He was among the first Black superstars in professional sports, encountered racism at a brutish level and, strikingly for the mid-century era, made no attempt to be liked by problematic fans. Woe betide anyone who might have thought of telling William Felton Russell to “shut up and dribble.”
His high-profile civil rights work included, but by no means was limited to, going to Mississippi to work for integration in the wake of the assassination of Medgar Evers and participating in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, who noted that he “stood up for the rights and dignity” of all people.
The first Wimbledon Championships were held on 9 June 1877 and were advertised as a ‘lawn tennis meeting, open to all amateurs’ and played at Worple Road in Wimbledon, not far from the current home of Wimbledon Tennis.
Wimbledon Tennis: no women allowed
Women were not allowed to play in this initial meeting, but 22 men turned up and paid the £1 1 shilling fee to take part. A modest crowd of 200 people watched the first matches that were played with wooden rackets and hand-sewn flannel balls.
It wasn’t until 1884 that the All England Club agreed to open the Championships up to both sexes and Lottie Dodd, from Cheshire, made her mark on Wimbledon a few years later as the (still unbeaten) youngest woman to win the title at the age of 15. She went on to win the Championships over the next four years, proving that women deserved a place in the game.
Well, we’re heading for a special Final Four in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. North Carolina faces off against Duke, their arch rival in the Final Four. Amazingly, these two blueblood teams have never met before in the Tournament’s history.
Here’s my video of slideshow and the show slides of it, so enjoy the game! Go Heels!