Shouldn’t Jahlil Okafor, a former Dukie, be able to ignore the little people?
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You’d think a guy who went to Duke, perhaps the most-despised college sports program in the country, would be used to getting heckled.
That’s what’s so perplexing about Jahlil Okafor’s recent run-ins. There couldn’t have been a road trip he made during his one year of college in which someone failed to rain hate on the snooty, entitled Blue Devils. If Duke teaches one thing, it’s how to hold your nose in the air and ignore the unwashed.
On the other hand, Okafor wasn’t used to losing at Duke, and that’s pretty much all the 76ers know how to do.
The Sixers suspended him for two games following a series of incidents, including one in October in which a heckler reportedly pointed a gun at Okafor’s head during a heated exchange outside a Philadelphia nightclub. He got into two separate fights in Boston recently, again by hecklers outside clubs.
And for good measure, police allegedly stopped the former Whitley Young star for going 108 m.p.h. on a Philadelphia bridge in October.
This is a reminder that many 19-year-olds aren’t fully formed adults and that throwing money at them doesn’t necessarily help the maturing process. It’s also a reminder that Duke, despite the mythmaking that envelops the basketball program like a Tommy Hilfiger seersucker blazer, doesn’t magically turn people into America’s leaders.
Okafor is still a kid, not yet legally old enough to drink, who can’t seem to ignore the jerks who roam the earth. Too bad. Coach Mike Krzyzewski teaches two things: We’re better than the people heckling us. And complain all game about the injustices of the officiating.
Remember that, Jahlil, and you’ll go far.