Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is always on the lookout for talented point guards who can be leaders for his teams. Coach K may have found a pretty good point guard Thursday, but this one won’t be replacing Tre Jones in the Blue Devils’ lineup anytime soon.
Krzyzewski said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, could be “America’s point guard” while interviewing the renowned doctor Thursday on his weekly “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” radio show on Sirius/XM.
“You’ve been a point guard your whole life,” Krzyzewski told Fauci. “You’re always delivering prescriptions or remedies or whatever. So I’m going to give you a new title today. It’s America’s point guard. That’s who you’ve become.”
Fauci, 79, played high school basketball while growing up in New York City.
“Whenever you speak at press conferences, the more you speak, the more strength you give all of us, just so you know that,” Krzyzewski told Fauci, who has become a prominent figure in the fight against COVID-19 as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci went along with Krzyzewski’s effort to use basketball analogies in characterizing the importance of social distancing during their nearly 30-minute conversation.
“What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to play a full-court press,” Fauci said. “We can’t let them get the ball on the ground to dribble. We’ve got to be all over them. That’s what we’ve really got to do, because that’s the only tool we have right now. We’re not even at halftime, Coach K. We’re just fighting it out.”
Krzyzewski gave Fauci his “scouting report” on the daily press conferences that Fauci participates in with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, saying that what Fauci adds to the events is “the ability to feel.”
“You inspire,” Krzyzewski said. “On a day-to-day basis if we could hear, see and feel you, understand that would make us better. That’s my scouting report on you. I want you to play more, have the ball more and distribute it more and be America’s point guard, because you have courage in the truth.”
Fauci continued to implore young people to adhere to social distancing guidelines, calling it the “simplest tool” to fight against the spread of the disease.
“It’s the reality of what we have to face,” Fauci said. “Because otherwise, we’re going to have a worse situation than what we already have.”
At one point, Krzyzewski asked if it felt he was “getting on” Fauci. The doctor laughed and said “not at all.”
“You are giving us strength in knowledge,” Krzyzewski said. “You are going to show us and you’re going to teach us. But just by hearing your voice and you being up there, I’m speaking for millions of Americans, we feel like we’re going to win. Please understand that you have that. Thank you for a lifetime of service to humanity. God bless you and godspeed. I want you as my point guard on every team that I coach.”