No. 1 Duke is a shoo-in for the NCAA Tournament, and it's time for Duke's players to start designing their sneakers for the Big Dance--which is why Nike consultants visited the Blue Devils before practice recently and helped them tailor their customized kicks for the Tournament.
The players split up into two groups and let natural selection take its course. One shoe, predominantly white with splashes of black and a Duke blue swoosh, won out easily in the end, partly because of its sartorial utility: The Blue Devils can wear it with their white, black or blue jerseys, and they might be forced to wear all of them in the postseason.
Or, as Gerald Henderson said: "That's the shoe. That's going to be fire."
We've been inundated with shoe-related basketball stories this year, but perhaps that's not surprising given the ubiquity of sneakers in today's basketball culture. On the women's team, Karima Christmas is the footwear connoisseur, as defaces her kicks with her signature artwork and with scribbled quotes, including one from Eleanor Roosevelt, of all people.
But by far the coolest sneakers in all of Cameron Indoor Stadium belong, ironically, to Mike Krzyzewski, who isn't typically considered as hip as, say, Henderson. After Krzyzewski won his 800th game last year, Nike sent him a custom-made pair of Air Force Ones made of white leather and gray flannel to denote his time at West Point. The shoes are housed in a box made exclusively of gym flooring, and they are adorned with scraps of blue suede that spell out Duke on the side and 800 above the heel.
And, perhaps to all of his players' dismay, Krzyzewski owns the only pair. Don't bet on him breaking them out to help the American Cancer Society this weekend, though. We don't see him wearing anything but pure white, boring as they may be.
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