That photo – Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski hugging an injured Paul George – served as an example in Adrian Wojnarowski’s article on how NBA players participating in USA Basketball helps Coach more than anyone:
At the foot of George’s hospital bed, someone had been waiting to snap the photo of the U.S. national coach reaching down and embracing his stricken player.
Suddenly, this most private and personal moment turned out to be anything but that. Within minutes, that image would be flying through Twitter and Instagram for all those moms and dads to see the compassion and caring of Duke’s coach.
Krzyzewski didn’t appreciate the insinuation.
Krzyzewski, via Nicole Auerbach of USA Today
I’m convinced Krzyzewski didn’t orchestrate the photo. I believe he cares about George, just as he’s grown close with other members of Team USA.
But Krzyzewski orchestrated putting himself in position for that photo to be taken.
In accepting the Team USA head-coaching position, Krzyzewski sought all the publicity that comes with it. Nobody had to ask a photographer to snap that picture. Everyone involved in the machine already knew how to pump its fame-creating flames.
Coach K had led the Americans to success, and he’s made gains in recruiting because of it. Maybe the NBA shouldn’t allow its stars to compete in FIBA events when Krzyzewski is the primary benefactor, but that’s something the league must bargain with its players. Don’t blame Krzyzewski for being a good enough coach to land the position and excel in it.
And to be fair, Wojnarowski never accused Krzyzewski of orchestrating the photo. I don’t know of anyone who did. So, Coach K is fighting a straw man here, though I understand his issue with the rhetoric.
But that doesn’t mean Coach K will resist the goodwill the photo created and any potential benefits it yields.