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Mike Krzyzewski not buying that '72 USA Olympic loss to Russia was "fair"

Sep 8, 2010, 1:29 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Krzyzewski.jpgEither Mike Krzyzewski forgot, or he took a little dig at his Russian counterpart. Smart money is on the latter.

Yesterday, Russian coach David Blatt said that the controversial ending of the 1972 Olympics USA v. Russia gold medal game was “fair.” That after Russia — playing the game in then Eastern Bloc Munich — was given three chances at a final play due to referee and clock malfunctions.

Coach K told Chris Sheridan of ESPN:

“He’s a Russian,” Krzyzewski said of Blatt, who actually holds dual American and Israeli citizenship…

“You know, he coaches the Russian team, so he probably has that viewpoint, and his eyes are clearer now because there are no tears in them,” Krzyzewski said.

Blatt was born in the United States, grew up in the Boston area as a Celtics fan, and played at Princeton. He’s American, with American citizenship (as well as Israeli citizenship, and it is that nation he currently calls home). He has coached all over the world, including Russia, but he is an American.

So Coach K took a little dig. Other guys with USA basketball are not as forgiving of those times.

NBA executive Mike Bantom, who played for that U.S. team, says the issue could be debated, but “if you lived it, and you were there, you know that it was wrong.”

And that was diplomatic. Off the record, the guys from that team still are pretty pissed about how that game ended. And their silver medals still sit unclaimed 38 years later as evidence.

The USA plays Russia Thursday at the FIBA World Championships. If you think 1972 is motivation, remember that not one member of Team USA was born when that game was played.

  1. johnmaine - Sep 8, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    Season outlook for second-year NFL head coaches. Find out who’s on the hot seat: http://bit.ly/bAWXod

  2. Rip Tatermen - Sep 8, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    Dude, Munich was in West Germany, and therefore not Eastern Bloc, as someone pointed out when you wrote about this the other day. Get it right.

  3. cygnus x-1 - Sep 8, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    coach k is right. the americans were robbed! they were not going to let that game end untill the russians won.you can’t keep saying clock malfunction untill you get the desired results and expect the americans to be happy and say congrats great game.still the best protest ever by not accepting the silver medal,why should they have accepted getting jobbed? would the russians have been gracious and praised the U.S.A. if the situation had been reversed?I don’t think so!who cares what this guy thinks anyway if he can’t decide what country he wants to live in.if he was a good coach he would be doing it here in the states.just trying to add drama should these guys who play together all the time beat a team put together in 2 weeks.

  4. Alec - Sep 8, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    From what time Munich became the “Eastern Block”?
    As for the game, I have seen those last minutes shown in both USA and Russian TV with comments drawing atention to different things. It is hard to say who is correct. So everybody are entitled to their opinions.

  5. DK - Sep 8, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    Eastern bloc? Really? What history books are you reading?

  6. cygnus x-1 - Sep 8, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    nobody cares where it took place just the fact the U.S.A. was screwed over by biased international officials.if you agree with that coach then you were not old enough to have seen it or are a left wing tree hugging hippie who believes that the U.S.A. is always wrong.

  7. aka - Sep 9, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    cygnus x-1 … you are an idoit. the only people i see “blaming” america first are looney right wingers like yourself. why you hate america i’ll never know.
    on the topic of the ’72 games the US did tremendous and their protest was incredible. they deserve the gold, but not taking the silver made them legends. U S A!!!

  8. rider_83 - Sep 9, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Why is anyone allowed to have 2 citizenships? You cannot be loyal to 2 different countries! If he lives in Israel he should not be allowed to hold American citizenship! Just because the people of the jewish religion have been given their own country doesnt give them the right to pretend they are loyal to 2 different countries!! For you whiners out there I didn’t bring up the subject the reporter did! The propaganda is getting old that Israel is America’s best friend. Israel is the only country to attack America and get away with it. It is the only act of war on America that has never been investigated by congress!!

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