Jewish Duke fans received a special present this night of Hanukkah.
No, it was not extra latkes or jelly donuts. Duke men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is Catholic, lit the menorah on the Bryan Center Plaza, commemorating the second night of Hanukkah with the school's Jewish community.
After an introduction from Jewish former star Blue Devil and current associate head coach Jon Scheyer, Krzyzewski spoke to the crowd about his relationship with the Jewish people and Hanukkah.
Here are some highlights from Krzyzewski's speech on Monday night:
Referring to this being one of his rare appearances on campus in a non-basketball context:
- "I'm always working because my assistants aren't doing enough of what they're supposed to be doing. They're too busy celebrating Hanukkah and lighting the menorah."
Talking about his thoughts on Jesus:
- "We both know Jesus—you just think he's a good guy, but I think he's a good guy and a little bit more."
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On Zion Williamson:
- "Although we have Zion on our team, so come on. Zion's a pretty cool word, for us, and you and all of us."
Relating the Maccabees, the heroes of the story of Hanukkah, to college basketball terms:
- "[The Maccabees] pulled off the biggest upset in the history of man. Bigger than UMBC over Virginia, Villanova over Georgetown, N.C. State over Houston or Lehigh over Duke."
Reflecting on the meaning of the holiday:
- "Let's make this year and this lighting of the menorah the first stage in an amazing amount of success that we will have in not only putting the five Maccabees together but maybe putting mankind together. That's the challenge I will challenge you with here tonight as we celebrate the lighting of the menorah. And I hope I have the honor if somebody shows me what the hell I'm supposed to do."
And here is Krzyzewski actually lighting the menorah: