It’s been over 41 years since Mike Krzyzowski coached his first game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a quiet 67-49 Duke win over Stetson on November 29, 1980. Since then, the court, which now bears his name, has been home to countless magical moments. It has epic victories and exciting rivalry games.
On Saturday, Krzyzewski will coach his last home game in Duke, appropriately against his main rival, North Carolina, and the festivities surrounding the coach’s deposition are shaped like nothing college basketball has seen before.
Tickets for Saturday’s game against North Carolina fetch the prices normally reserved for the Super Bowl, with the cheapest seats in Vivid Seats now priced at about $3,450 as of Thursday night, with an average price nearly double that, and some of the best seats on the market are reported at more than $50,000. For both of them.
There will be a plethora of celebrities in attendance to witness the history, including a host of Duke greats of all time. In fact, all 208 former Krzyzewski players were invited to participate in the game, as first reported on the court, a roster of a group of college basketball legends.
Duke advises fans to arrive early — certainly not a problem for Duke students who have been camping in Krzyzewskiville for several days — as the school plans to honor Krzyzewski on the field before tip-off. More festivities and Krzyzewski’s speech will follow, and ESPN will broadcast both events.
Duke even partnered with OneOf, an online marketplace, to offer a set of NFTs dedicated to celebrating Krzyzewski’s retirement — perhaps a fitting touch, given that he coached his first Duke game more than a decade before most people knew what the internet was, let alone Token is not replaceable.
Krzyzewski, who has tried to downplay his role on this season’s farewell tour, has already earned his share of honors down the road — from a field meeting with Denny Crum in Louisville to his good friend Jim Boeheim presenting him with a framed photo and piece of the carrier’s dome roof in Syracuse. But every home game this season has been a countdown to farewell on Saturday, as fans packed Cameron indoors as Duke approached his first solo regular season title since 2006.
Over the past two weeks, towards the end, many Duke players have commented on the energy inside Cameron, but few felt confident anticipating just how boisterous the environment would be in a game with no historical precedent.
“I noticed it during warm-ups,” First Blue Demon Attacker Joey Baker He told about the crowd during Duke’s last home game against Florida State. “You can’t really explain it, but you can feel it, and we felt it right away. I’m interested to see how it feels against North Carolina.”
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