Mike Krzyzewski on Turning Down NBA Offers

Coaching national team gave Coach K his "NBA fix"
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Coach Mike Krzyzewski has been one of the most successful college basketball coaches in history. That success drew attention from the NBA, which made at least two high-profile overtures to Coach K during his career at Duke. In an appearance on WIP sports radio in Philadelphia, Krzyzewski talked about his chances to coach in the pros and why he stayed with the Blue Devils. He also revealed that former player Billy King reached out to him in 2003, when King was G.M. of the 76ers and coach Larry Brown resigned.

“I’ve been fortunate,” he said. “If you’re a successful coach or businessperson, you’re going to have opportunities. When professional opportunities occurred … I love Duke, in addition to college basketball. I love working at a university environment. You’re surrounded by great people, not just in sports. It has been proven to be pretty pure. It’s getting crazy now, but that was kind of (King) to even ask.”

Obviously, Krzyzewski turned down his former player’s offer. “I wasn’t interested in anything at that time,” he said. “Two times, I was pretty interested. In 1990, when Dave Gavitt took over the Boston Celtics, I did interview with them. And in 2005, with the Lakers, at the end of the day, I didn’t do it. Ironically, in 1990, when I didn’t do it, the next two years, we won our first two national championships. In 2005, when I didn’t accept the offer, a few months later, Jerry Colangelo offered me the opportunity to coach the national team as the first national team (permanent) coach. I was able to do that for 11 years. I got my NBA fix, so to speak. I’m really happy I got that.”