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Nolan Smith Honored

One of Duke’s best players and citizens

Syracuse v Duke
OMAHA, NE - MARCH 23: Special assistant Nolan Smith of the Duke Blue Devils walks toward the court prior to their game against the Syracuse Orange during the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at CenturyLink Center on March 23, 2018 in Omaha, Nebraska
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

In - well, probably 2011 but we’re not sure now but around then - Duke had an open practice in the early part of the season and someone was bellowing “are you not entertained?” - the line from the movie Gladiator where Maximus applied his military training to slaughter opposing gladiators.

It was hilarious and full of life but we couldn’t figure out who it was right away.

Not surprisingly, it turned out to be Nolan Smith. He has a knack of lighting up the room wherever he goes and also has a deeply humane desire to help people.

He goes above and beyond on a regular basis. Coach K calls him the People’s Champion which seems about right.

Duke has never had an ideal relationship with Durham and with the possible exception of Coach K, Smith is the best possible ambassador Duke has. He’s willing to go anywhere if he thinks he can help and has inspired people across the city. To use a Krzyzewskian term, he’s special. And he was honored for what he does by the News & Observer, which named him its Citizen Of The Month.

Well deserved.