If you took a peek at any major sports media source in the days following Duke men’s basketball’s Elite 8 loss to Michigan State, it would have been filled with takes burning the Blue Devils for a “failure” of a season. I’m looking at you, Stephen A. Smith.
But there’s a reason for that—no team has been as widely covered, scrutinized, and talked about in college basketball since Michigan’s Fab Five, and although a sixth banner wasn’t hung in the rafters of Cameron Indoor Stadium, it’s not up for debate that this year’s Duke team was must-see action—and stars across the country knew it.
It’s not uncommon for celebrities to want to experience the atmosphere of Cameron or catch the Blue Devils in Madison Square Garden, but from the moment LeBron James walked down to his courtside seat at John Paul Jones Arena for Duke’s top five matchup against Virginia, it was going to be different.
VIPs from all kinds of platforms have ventured to see Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and company this season, ranging from former presidents to legendary rappers. Even Stephen A. couldn’t help but check out the talented Blue Devils in person.
According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, the combined net worth of the stars who came to a Duke game this season was $3.064 billion. That’s about 50 times the amount of money Williamson will be expected to make over the course of his rookie deal, so let me be the first to say to these celebrities, if you liked what you saw, the Duke community is accepting donations to keep Zion until a national championship is brought home.
Below is a list of some of the brightest stars that saw the Blue Devils in action this year, ignoring celebrities with major ties to either of the programs participating, like former players:
- Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States
- LeBron James: NBA All-Star
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- Jay-Z: rapper and record producer
- Dwyane Wade: NBA All-Star
- Floyd Mayweather: former professional boxer
- Magic Johnson: Basketball Hall of Famer
- Stephen A. Smith: ESPN personality
- Ken Griffey Jr.: MLB Hall of Famer
- Spike Lee: film director/ actor
- Peyton List: actress
- Young Dolph: rapper
- Todd Gurley III: NFL All-Pro running back
- Trae Young: NBA point guard
- Martha Hunt: model
- Roy Cooper: 75th governor of North Carolina
- Rob Gronkowski: former NFL All-Pro tight end
- Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys’ head coach
- Rajon Rondo: NBA all-star
- Mike Posner: singer-songwriter
- Jay Cutler: former NFL Pro Bowl quarterback
- Gunna: rapper
- DeShaun Watson: NFL Pro Bowl quarterback
- A Boogie wit da Hoodie: rapper
- Derek Carr: NFL Pro Bowl quarterback
- Dak Prescott: NFL Pro Bowl quarterback
- Thomas Davis: NFL All-Pro linebacker
- Greg Olsen: NFL All-Pro tight end