Duke basketball saint Grayson Allen is victim, ESPN owes two apologies

By attempting to influence a game from press row Thursday night while unnecessarily disparaging both an innocent player and the entire Duke basketball staff, ESPN proved unfit to broadcast basketball.

When defecating foul takes concerning the latest foul from Duke basketball treasure and current Memphis Grizzlies guard Grayson Allen, ESPN announcers are consistently biased, off-base, and as out of line as unsupervised kindergartners waiting at the water fountain.

Fueling a false narrative every time.

Most times, these announcers push the foolishness further by branding the all-time winningest college basketball coach as morally inferior to themselves.

Close examination without blinders uncovers ESPN as a blowhard. A villain. Self-aggrandizing. Too big for its britches. Doesn’t play by the rules.

One of ESPN’s all-time favorite targets to unapologetically hold up its nose at, as if he belongs behind bars, is Allen.

The 23-year-old only ever plays exactly as Rudy practiced.

No plays off. A ready source of energy for his teammates at all times. So much wound-up passion, in fact, that he never fails to irk his opponents, often resulting in frazzled opponents.

Remember, athletes have used such tactics ever since cavemen played caveball.

The proof of Allen’s importance to squads he plays on lies in the not-there-without-the-spark-from-Grayson 2015 national championship banner hanging inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

He’s a blue-collar overachiever who worked his tail off to go No. 21 at the 2018 NBA Draft — no small feat considering his unfair reputation coming out of Duke.

He’s a 6-foot-5, 200-pound role model from Jacksonville, Fla., who heroically brushes off undeserved, incessant attacks from unprofessional announcers and all those who gnash their teeth with suppressed envy of everything the Blue Devils stand for and accomplish.

Recapping for those who haven’t yet seen it or heard about it, the jealous-of-Duke-basketball anti-Allen venom peaked again during the fourth quarter of the Grizzlies’ 113-87 Summer League loss to the Boston Celtics late Thursday night.

ALSO READ: Grayson Allen gets ejected after two flagrant fouls

All Allen did was commit two hard — but hardly dangerous — fouls. Neither was overly deserving of the received flagrant. Nevertheless, the fouls came within seven seconds of one another, sending Allen to the locker room early with a disappointing three points from a 1-for-8 shooting performance.

Sure, he was probably a bit frustrated. No, he didn’t do anything that doesn’t happen during the course of nearly every NBA game (of course, the other perpetrators of such “crimes” don’t cause announcers to foam at the mouth while demanding instant justice):

ESPN commentator Dan Dakich immediately called for the electric chair for Allen. This is the same clown who has relentlessly whined about the way Coach K talks to refs and who once attempted to stir up the Duke basketball locker room by alleging former Blue Devil big man Marvin Bagley was “all about Marvin Bagley.”

After the first foul, where Allen simply pushed Grant Williams off of him after the Celtics rookie wrapped his left arm around Allen while forcing his right forearm into Allen’s chest in an attempt to set a screen, the 56-year-old toddler and his play-by-play buddy, Ryan Ruocco, fueled one another’s more-absurd-with-every-word rant (below with this writer’s What are they watching? moments mixed in):

Dakich: Don’t touch Grayson. Don’t touch him. What are you doing?

Ruocco: I have to tell you, Dan, it mystifies me how anyone can defend what he does when it happens time and time again.

Dakich: It’s just tiresome. It’s just tiresome. I mean, let’s just be honest, Duke defended him ad nauseam, enabled him.

Ruocco: Oh my gosh, yes!

The Duke basketball coaches suspended Allen a game as a junior. They worked with him rather than give up on him, as they do with each member of #TheBrotherhood without end. Both on and off the court, they helped mold him into a better man. The only tiresome displays are Dakich opening his mouth, Ruocco agreeing with whatever Dakich says, and ESPN enabling the both of them.

Dakich: And now it just continues. Truthfully, it’s just exhausting. And look, you said it off air, if he was this tough, grind-it-out, fighting guy, then you’d say alright.

Ruocco: Right!

Dakich: But all he is, he just stays around the perimeter, shoots jumpshots, avoids contact, and then does things like that.

Ruocco: You can’t be sneaky and do those kind of things. You want to go toe-to-toe Charles Oakley style? OK.

Dakich: Somebody hits you from behind, and you’re going to react to it, or you get touched, and you’re going to react to it, I mean that’s twice in this game…it happens on a Sunday rec league game at your local YMCA…

So Allen should start being an instigator rather than a fighter-back? So if he plays nastier — in the same manner as the elbow-throwing intimidators every 20th-century NBA team boasted — his actions would somehow be less nasty because they would be manlier?


This is when Dakich, with ESPN responsible as his employer, reacted with an act that would have landed him on his rear outside the arena — with press credentials revoked — had he not worked for the network nobody questions (but whose financial state in recent years suggests more should have been questioning it all along).

After deeming the foul as flagrant, the ref informed the announcers of the call.

And Dakich grinned ear to ear while twice self-righteously gesturing his thumb over his shoulder and mouthing to the ref, “Get him out of here! Get him out of here!”

Not your job, bozo.

How about letting the guys with whistles do their job? How about you be what you’re supposed to be but, in part because of your distaste for all things Duke, never have been: an impartial observer?

Why the creepy smile?

The fetish for watching Dukies receive their punishments is a glaring indicator someone needs far more mental help than Allen.

After receiving his flagrant, Allen stayed on the floor as Dakich put words in his mouth:

Dakich: Yea, it’s everybody else’s fault. It’s never poor Grayson’s fault.

Following his inaccurate mocking of Allen with his condescending tone, Dakich went on to question why Allen never chases after loose balls. Guess Dakich was too busy wining and dining his ego that April night four years ago when Allen gained fame and Duke basketball fans’ undying love by kickstarting a comeback run by — what else — chasing down a loose ball and diving headfirst to make the save.

YouTube, Dakich, check it out, for it may allow you to start talking while knowing what you’re talking about.

Back to the game: seven seconds later, Allen swatted at a Williams layup attempt — with a little windup and a little more oomph than normal — nicking a little bit of ball but a lot more body.

No big deal. Allen earned his first-ever NBA ejection.

So what?

It’s happened to countless other players, coaches, and even fans.

But, as evidenced late Thursday, ejections need include a commentator or two.

And if the network sending said commentator keeps sending him despite never teaching him to properly commentate — not to include influencing refs nor belittling a dude having the kind of rough night every NBA player has from time to time — then the NBA may eventually find in its best interest voiding whatever deal it has with ESPN.

The point is, Allen’s type of fouls, facial expressions, and body language are exactly in line with Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, and any NBA Joe Schmoe a ref has ever hit with a common foul, flagrant, or technical.

Heck, even Williams agrees:

“He’s a competitor,” Williams said of Allen after the game. “Don’t take anything personally. I’ve always thought of it as you wind up in the game, things like that happen. So you respect him, he’s a talented player. He’s a guy who did really great things at Duke, he’s good friends with a couple of my friends, so I didn’t take it personally.

“It was just a matter of competing on the court.”


Guess the only difference between Allen and other competitors is Dakich and other doofuses abhor Allen’s existence.

They despise him for his promising career ahead that they must believe he doesn’t deserve due to his checkered past as a Duke basketball player.

Furthermore, they hate that he’s a national champion and became one by activating the exact weapons Dakich wants us all to believe he lacks: hustle and heart.

ALSO READ: Ranking the 2015 Duke champs’ upcoming NBA seasons

A final message for Grayson:

Commit hard fouls. Poke a leg out every now and then. Stand in a spot so an opponent not paying attention runs into your shoulder. Shrug or whine or both when the refs call a foul. Roll your eyes when they deem it a flagrant. React any way you see fit.

It’s basketball, not pattycake.

You’ll continue doing exactly what all your peers are doing but with infinite more magnifying glasses on your every action.

All this means is you’re getting under people’s skin at the next level — in just your second year in the league. You’re messing with them. And you keep learning not to let them mess with you.

You’re doing you’re job exactly right, exactly what Duke basketball fans adore you for:

Being St. Grayson, a proven champion.

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more updates, analyses, and opinions concerning Grayson Allen and the rest of the former Duke basketball players in the NBA.