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Mike Krzyzewski's 'drunk as a skunk' joke lost in translation

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Mike Krzyzewski, seen here in a press conference to open the 2011-12 season, recently had a little fun with the media in London. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY— cliddy@newsobserver.com

The Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler has been in London covering the Olympics, and on Friday, he brought back this gem:

LONDON -- When you make a joke to an international audience – even a pretty good one – you run the risk of being misinterpreted.

That happened to U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski Friday night following his team’s 26-point win over Argentina. In the press conference, a TV reporter from America asked, given this team of superstars: “How much coaching is really involved?”

You could tell Coach K was irritated a little by the question, but he defused it with humor.

“None,” he said. “You got it. Absolutely none. I’m out every night with my family, drunk as a skunk. Wait until you see me tonight. I’ll get in at 6 a.m., and you all are invited to come out with me. We just roll out the damn ball and that’s it. You got it. I don’t know how you figured that out.”

Most of the room laughed. Then, five minutes later, a foreign reporter started a question to Kevin Durant like this: “Kevin, Coach K says he has been going out drinking a lot. What have you …”

Krzyzewski interrupted him then, telling the reporter he had been joking. “Oh, sorry,” the reporter said. “I didn’t catch the irony.”

I thought that was funny, too. The guy knows the word “irony” but didn’t get the joke about “drunk as a skunk”?

Honestly, the fear of being taken out of context or misinterpreted has led many athletes and coaches to not say much of anything in interviews. In this case, though, it's nice to see Krzyzewski mixing up the postgame routine with a bit of wit. 

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About the blogger

Laura Keeley is the Duke beat writer for the News & Observer. Follow her on Twitter @laurakeeley