I was seven at the time, and up until then I primarily watched cartoons, NASCAR races, and baseball. Basketball was as foreign of a sport as cricket could have been to a white kid who only had Venezuelan and Brazilian neighbor friends, and basic cable.

For whatever reason, my dad wasn't home on a Sunday, so I had complete control of the TV remote as my mom did her regular Sunday ritual of cleaning the house and then taking a bath.

Advertisement

It was March, and the NCAA Tournament was in full swing, and during this particular weekend, the Elite Eight was happening. I flipped through what few channels we had at that time, and landed on a game between two teams wearing the same shade of white and blue: Kentucky and Duke.

I had no original interest in the game, no horse in the race, but I was captivated by the pace of matchup. Up and down the floor it went. The lead traded hands all day long.

One commercial break I realized that both Duke and my father had the same name. Well, Duke isn't my father's real name, but according to the letters my grandpa would write to him, I was led to believe that for, essentially, the first eight or nine years of my life.

Advertisement

My grandpa was a HUGE John Wayne fan. He had paintings in his house, movie posters, commemorative plates, pearl handled knives, just about anything you could imagine with John Wayne's mug plastered on it. So, as my dad grew up, he was given the nickname "Duke," and it stuck.

Being seven, I linked the two together; I even told my dad when he got home that he had the same name as a school that played on TV.

Even though Duke eventually lost that game, I pulled for them, as I still do to this day.

Long story short: I'm not a bandwagoner, like most of my friends growing up in south Florida all suspected I was, I just have a dumb reason for why I like Duke basketball.