Duke basketball sits on the Mount Rushmore of college hoops programs by way of five titles in the Blue Devils’ storied history, and along the way, various stars have been able to cement themselves as national icons.
In particular, some of the most engaging college basketball personalities throughout time have called Durham, North Carolina home — having played their home games at one of the most prolific homecourt advantages in sports: Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Naturally, with a hated in-state rival in UNC, and a penchant for hanging conference championship, Final Four, and national championship banners from the rafters, some players have stood out for invoking vitriol from rival fanbases.
Here are 5 Duke basketball players the rivals loved to hate the most
No. 5 Duke basketball player the rivals loved to hate the most: Grant Hill
1994 NBA Draft: Round 1, Pick 3
Orlando Magic, 2000–2007
Phoenix Suns, 2007–2012
Los Angeles Clippers, 2012–2013
Grant Hill was more of a role player during Duke’s 1991 and 1992 national championship triumphs, but he was a star during the Blue Devils’ 1993 and 1994 seasons — the latter of which resulted in a Final Four appearance and championship game loss. Hill’s father wanted him to attend North Carolina, but the decision to attend Duke led to the forward becoming a star who many (prematurely) compared to the Tar Heels’ all-time great Michael Jordan.
Hill was great as a pro, making seven All-Star teams and being named to five All-NBA teams, but he never quite reached the gaudy expectations of being one of the unanimously recognized greatest basketball players of all time. Still, his presence on three of Coach K’s most legendary teams ever (and his cool laid-back persona) makes him one of the most hated players over in Chapel Hill and other ACC institutions.