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Haters get last laugh on Allen

Leslie Monteiro



This is delicious. This is beautiful. This is poetic justice.

Grayson Allen’s haters have been waiting for the Duke Blue Devils goon failed in a big game in his four years at Duke. They got their moment in a game that had all the meaning for him and his Duke teammates.

Allen missed a jump shot that would have given Duke the win after Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk shot a 3-pointer that had the Kansas Jayhawks tie the game at 72 with 27 seconds to go in regulation. Instead of him being the hero and villain, his missed shot set the stage for Kansas Jayhawks redshirt sophomore Malik Newman (32 points) to score all 13 of his team’s points in overtime to give Kansas an 85-81 victory over Duke Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Center.


After watching him cheapshot other players over the years by tripping them and taunting fans on the road, Allen got his in what was his last game as a Duke Blue Devil. Everyone enjoyed it. For them, it was karma after getting away with his antics and winning a national championship for Duke. For him to be the goat in his last game will be a memory college basketball fans will cherish forever. It was like manna from the basketball gods.

It’s not fair to blame the Duke sharpshooter for the loss. Duke lost because Marvin Bagley III only took nine shots in that game. For some reason, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to fall in love with the 3-point shots to match what Kansas was doing, so he gave more touches to Allen and Gary Trent Jr. rather than feed the beast in Bagley.

But hey, we love it when a villain fails, so let’s go with the narrative that Allen lost the game for Duke. If he shoots it, we would be talking about Allen being a pain in the posterior in social media, cyberspace and sports radio talkwaves. So it’s fair game to say he lost that game, too since the ball did go in.

It’s been a long-time coming for Allen. He enjoyed a great life at Duke. He won many games. He has a national championship to show for it. He received publicity for his antics. He took all of it in embracing the role of a villain. He never had a bad day in his life at Duke. Yes, people hated him, but in a sick way, people envy him. Who wouldn’t want to play the role of a heel and bask in all the glory?

College basketball fans wanted Allen to fail just once. They want him to experience being the goat. They want him to have that feeling of a loser. It’s like all of us getting happiness from seeing the Yankees go down or Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors leaving as losers. There’s something gratifying about seeing the bad guys lose than a fan’s favorite team winning.

Too often, bad guys win in sports because they are too good and we can’t help it. Sports fans don’t like it unless that athlete plays for their team. It’s like he’s a jerk, but he’s our jerk.

There’s so much to like about Allen. He’s a gamer by giving everything he got. He’s an overachiever in so many ways. He’s likely not going to be playing in the NBA. He is that rare four-year college player that has not used his college as a pit stop to the NBA. He’s a favorite among his teammates when it comes to being a team player. He’s not high maintenance as people make him out to be.

But he plays for Duke, so that automatically makes him a bad guy by association. Duke is a team that fans hate or love like the Yankees, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. There’s no in-between with those polarizing teams.

People look at him as this cocky guy. It’s how Duke players are perceived, especially white basketball players going back to Christian Laettner, Jay Bilas, Jon Scheyer and J.J. Reddick. They are even being called as privileged people.

If Allen played for Kansas, Michigan Wolverines or the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, he would be beloved as an All-American. Perception is everything sadly. Nothing will change. If a player plays for Duke, he is a bad guy.

Don’t feel bad for Allen. He had everything great in his four years there. Deep down, he needed a moment like yesterday for his own good. After all, everyone has to fail at least once that comes with having success, right?

Plus, basketball fans should get to enjoy their Allen’s schadenfreude moment.

Leslie Monteiro is a syndicated sports columnist who writes about the Tri-State area teams for the Upstate Courier. He is based in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and can be reached on Twitter @MongoGoesInSane.