By Jody Yarborough aka Mrjobe85

I would like to start this story out in the year of 1991 around about the time of the 1991 NCAA Men’s Final Four. I was 6 years old at the time and was sitting down to watch the Duke and UNLV Semi-Finals game with my dad. Before we get deep into this story, I would like to say that since the day I was old enough to know what basketball was I have been a Duke fan. Why Duke you ask? That was my dad’s team and my granddad’s team while everyone on my mom’s side of the family were UNC fans. So at a young age, I had to make a very important decision (all sons want to be like there dad). So I decided to stick with the other men in my family and haven’t regretted the decision for a single second ever. So back to the Final Four game. Well, as most of you know UNLV were the defending National Champions (destroying Duke in 1990 Championship game 73-103) and were coming into the game undefeated. Now, as you may have guessed, UNLV came into the game heavily favored. This was Duke’s fourth consecutive year making the Final Four and they had yet to win their first National Championship. Well the rest of it is history, the Blue Devils defeated the Runnin Rebels 79-77 in what many people considered one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history. I remember jumping up and down and celebrating with my dad. I thought nothing could be better than this and boy was I ever wrong when 2 days later, Duke went on to defeat the Kansas Jayhawks 72-65 to win the 1991 NCAA Men’s National Championship. Not only was this Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first National Championship but the Duke Blue Devil’s as well. Starting from that day on I considered myself a Duke fan for life. 

Well my excitement and love for the Blue Devils began to grow even bigger when the 1992 tournament came around. The Blue Devils were the overall number #1 seed and one of the favorites to win the Championship. Then came the night when I would become a Duke Fanatic for life. The match-up was set. The #1 seeded Duke Blue Devils vs. the #2 seeded Kentucky Wildcats in an Elite Eight match up that would be remembered for a lifetime. The game was exciting all they way through and ended up going to overtime. I was on the edge of my sit as the game went back and forth. Then my heart was broken as time was winding down and the Wildcats came down the court and took a 103-102 lead with just 2.1 seconds to play. Me and my dad were crushed as we both thought for sure that the season was over for the Devils. I can actually remember to this day that my dad actually turn the channel during the called timeout as he didn’t want to have to see Kentucky celebrate there hard fought win. I convinced him to turn it back and it is probably one of the best decisions he has ever made when it comes to being a Duke fan. With just 2.1 seconds to play Grant Hill threw a baseball pass the full length of the court to fellow teammate and soon to be name 92 NCAA Player of the Year Christian Laettner. Laettner caught the pass, dribbled the ball once, turned and hit a fade away jumper as time expired to win the game for the Blue Devils 104-103.  

I was shocked and just sat there with a blank look on my face. Then it hit me and I screamed and celebrated with my father for what seemed liked hours. This was without a doubt the happiest sports experience I have ever had. I loved this even more than when Duke went on to defeated the Michigan Wolverines 71-51 to become the first back-to-back champions since the 1972-73 UCLA teams. Since the Kentucky win I have been a Duke Blue Devil Fanatic and absolutely bleed Duke blue. It especially gets fun around the house win the Blue Devils play the Tarheels on a yearly basis. I get to talk junk to my mom, sister, and grandma if the Devils win. I can really lay it on them but I hate it when the situation is reversed. They love to throw it in my face that I was actually born in Chapel Hill, NC and I always say that was completely out of my control. Then my favorite is when my grandma tells me I should pull for the “Tar-Holes” when they aren’t playing Duke because we are from NC and should pull for local teams. I tell her as all real Duke fans would, the next best thing to a Duke win is a Tarheels lost. I would pull for any team in the entire world before I would ever pull for UNC. I hope to have a son one day and hope and pray that he will follow the rest of the males in his family and be a Duke Fanatic. Well, I hope all the Duke and college basketball fans really enjoy the story and thought it would be great one for this time of year.