January17/ 2000

… Yes, I once HATED Bill Bunting with the same fervor that UNC loonies and even mainstream partisans gin up these days for Mike Krzyzewski and his malevolent malefactors du jour.  “Say it ain’t so BobLee!”  Bill is a legendary Carolina basketballer from the late 60s … Indeed he is/was, but it was not always so. ….  AND we introduce you to KIRK PELLAND – The Radical Arborist threatening Tar Heel Town.

    I am pretty hard on “fans” who base their support of School A on how much they hate the fans, coaches, players of School B.  Wouldn’t being a “fan” be more pleasant if folks concentrated on effusive, if often totally unrealistic, adorative praise for “their own” rather than denigrating “those other guys” but apparently not.  Scrunching one’s face up like a constipated walnut and hacking up bilious slander about “them” seems all the rage.

    As we noted in our previous column, as Thanksgiving approaches and we find excuses not to rake leaves, Tar Heel fans actually unite.  September, October, and early November are traditionally celebrated by “hating Dickie” (with assorted ire directed towards The Meez of course).  Not EVERYBODY hates The Little Prince for sure, but them what does do so with enough fervor to compensate for them what don’t.  But The Little Prince & The Meez are just the annual opening act for the REAL DEAL come Winter … HATING DUKE.

    At the Maryland game, I was with SwaggerSays legal counsel and longtime running buddy Duke Buck. We were in Kenan’s notorious “Napa Valley”, about the 35 on the South side.  Yes, I am usually much closer to “the 50” but I like to mingle with the untermensch on occasion.  In front of us were stereotypical “Fat Cats”.  You know the type … those horrid folks that the board monkeys and junior woodchucks always want to disembowel because they give beaucoups of $$$ to The Rams Club but don’t get drunk and scream F-bombs at opponents like “real fans” are supposed to do according to the monkeys and woodchucks .

    The group in front of us were well-dressed … men in tweed sport coats, weejuns, khakis, and that sort of oppulent patina that emanates from people who have actually accomplished something with their lives.  (Not to imply that 10,000+ posts on a message board is NOT an “accomplishment”) Their ladies were of the high maintenance variety, dressed even finer, and well-coiffed.  I got to see them a lot because they kept standing up and cheering the entire game from start to OT finish.  I wanted to remind them that according to legend they weren’t suppose to be doing that but I figured what the heck, they seemed to be having such a good time.

    So anyway … Duke and I were discussing “the most hated Duke BBers of all time” and I’ll be darned if one of those well-coiffed elegant elbow ornaments didn’t overhear us and turn to me and expound “I really hated Christian Laettner!”  Duke looked at me with an expression that said “she just made your column, didn’t she?”  Duke knows me pretty well after 52 years.

    Her “Greensboro law firm senior partner-looking” husband added “and I hear this Greg Paolas will be another bad one …”   And a third member of their group suddenly exclaimed “Hey, you’re BobLee Swagger. I met you on the 10th tee at the Chrysler Classic at Forest Oaks.”  Duke (who IS a Dookie!) was into major head shaking and eye-rolling by this time. Me, I’m used to it.

I hated Bill Bunting for all the same perfectly logical reasons that otherwise normal UNCers hate Christian Laettner.  He played for “the hated rival” and was very good.  In Bill’s case it was New Bern High School in the mid 60s.  Longtime SSays readers know the story.  My Kinston Red Devils were the #1 juggernaut BB program in North Carolina … 51-1 over two years w/ back-back 3-A state crowns, but Bunting’s Bears were #2.  That one loss for us came on a Laettner vs Kentucky-esque miracle play by Bunting.  Bunting’s coach – the quite evil BobLewis – even looked kinda like Krzyzewski (beady eyes, ferrett features, etc) now that I think back.  Bunting/Laettner even had a Hurley-like running mate in point guard – Cecil Harrison.  We beat’em 6 outta 7 times over those two years, but they were 7 battle royals for sure.  

   Our coach, the legendary Paul Jones, was a deified paragon of virtue and all things grand, much like Ye Olde Legend in The Basement. Our coach = A GOD … Their coach = SATANIC DEMON … huuuummm, a familiar theme … yes?

So Bill Bunting signs with UNC and whattayaknow we become good friends over those four years … somewhere in that transition from adolescent to college graduate I adopted my current mindset on HATING opponents.  I don’t.  But recognizing my duty to assist you folks in however you chose to “enjoy” sports, I am offering the following –   Not in any order of “bad person” …

Most Hated Duke BBers of The Past 50 Years.


  Art Heyman

  Bob Verga

  Christian Laettner

  Bobby Hurley

  J.J. Redick


Honorable Mention to:

Danny Ferry 


Chris Collins / Quinn Snyder

Mike Lewis

Jack Marin / Mike Gminski

   I presented this list to Duke Buck and noted “notice anything peculiar about this list?”  He replied “#1, I agree with your list … and #2, they are “all white guys””.  I’ve since showed this list to a handful of other SSays advisors with the same comments.

Indeed … for socio-cultural reasons I will leave to the pointy-headed psychologists types, the “most-hated” Duke BBers, in a sport dominated for the past 30 years by African-Americans, are “all white guys”.  Duke was slow to incorporate black players into their programs with Gene “Tinker Bell” Banks and Johnny Dawkins being the first significant contributors in the mid 80s.  Recent superstars such as Grant Hill and Shane Battier never engendered the bone-deep bile flow of the players listed above.

   Is it also coincidental that the “Most Hated (non-Duke) Rival Player of All Time” is John Roche.  We’ll entertain anyone’s theories on why UNC “fan hate” has such a decidedly Caucasian bent ???

SSays readers tend to skew “baby boomer” versus “junior woodchuck”.  The presence of four of Vic Bubas’ players on this list somewhat negates the “it’s all Coach K’s fault” theory.  UNC fans have hated Duke players and coaches pretty consistently since around 1960 or so.  Prior, Frank McGuire had more death duels with Everett Case and Bones McKinney.  

In the McGuire-Smith transition post-Rosenbluth, an arrogant Yankee gym rat named Art Heyman arrived at the Gothic Rockpile and sent Chapel Hillians into a heightened state of Duke-Hate that has pretty much raged ever since … allowing for a simmering in the early 70s during the Waters-McGeachy “Lost Years”.

The only theory anyone has proffered on “Blue Devil white boy hate” is that Ye Olde Legend would have frowned on the traditional racial epithets that are incorporated into hating black players.  Homosexual epithets hurled at each/every white Dookie apparently passed Dean’s sniff test and have been a staple of “Duke player hate” pretty much from the get-go.

That virtually every one of the “most hated Duke players” were aggressively recruited by UNC is often overlooked.  They were all Eagle Scout honor students UNTIL the moment they signed “over there” at which time they were outed as “felonious pedophilic homosexuals”.  My friend Carrboro Bob says “they were all along, we just didn’t know it.”  


Make room on your UNC Villain roster for 

Kirk Pelland.

   There’s former UNC “Faculty Chair” (is there a Faculty End Table?) – Susie “Racquetball” Estroff … notorious despiser of athletics, heterosexuals, Jumbotrons and Republicans.  Then there’s South Building flunkie extraordinaire – Jonathan Curtis … sworn enemy of campus Christians, especially heterosexual Republican God-squaders.  There’s the potty-mouthed History Professor who hurls f-bombs at Uncle Sam’s jet planes.  Now we have this Pelland yahoo … a spittle-spewing arborist on a personal mission to destroy Tar Heel Town.

   Not since Mr Grinch pulled his dastardly Yuletide raid on Who-ville has a nice little peaceful community of good people been so threatened.

…   Tar Heel Town is a very “good thing”.  It was birthed during the calamitous Torbush Era but really gained impetus with John Bunting’s arrival in 2001.  It’s a concept employed on many campuses to give alumni and fans a place to congregate pre-game that takes advantage of the pastoral beauty of the campus.

If one’s stadium happens to be say “at a fairgrounds” it’s not such a cool idea … but on-campus stadia incorporate the promotional concept well.  Tar Heel Town has developed into a popular pre-game attraction for families and attendance has grown steadily over the past 5 years despite the well-documerted ups and downs of UNC Football fortunes.

Enter Kirk Pelland who is demanding it be moved out of Polk Place because “all those football people are endangering the drip lines”.  Kirk Pelland is UNC “Director of Grass and Trees”.  Who knew there was one?  Another “essential non-classroom expenditure” no doubt?

By his own admission, Pelland has not actually attended a game day Tar Heel Town but he claims “all those people are gathering around the trees and compacting the drip lines”.  A “drip line” is the radius that limbs stretch out from a tree’s trunk and determines the area that a tree draws its life sustaining moisture.  If that ground is “compacted”, water cannot reach down to the roots, the tree dies.  All well and good and understood … nobody wants Polk Place looking like a clear-cut North Raleigh subdivision where “evil developers” run rampant with tree-killing bulldozers.   

Like his radical zealot counter parts (Estroff, Curtis, et al), Pelland conveniently ignores facts and reality in screeching his “THIS MUST BE STOPPED” rant to Meezie and his cadre of hand wringing wingnuts in South Building.

Reality, for those who deal in such, is that the activity areas in Tar Heel Town are specifically located to avoid “drip lines”.  I have attended every home FB game for the past 5 years and enjoyed Tar Heel Town at every one.  And I have paid particular attention to the logistics and crowd flow within Polk Place … anticipating that if it became too popular, the puckered butt bunch would do their darnedest to kibosh it. So … here they come.

Saving Tar Heel Town will not make UNC “bowl eligible” nor will it “awaken the sleeping giant” nor will it cause Dickie to retire earlier … none of the “must list” for the loon faction.  But it is a positive aspect of alumni/fan appreciation of Fall Saturdays @ Carolina.

Given the choice of getting rid of Tar Heel Town or getting rid of the Director of Grass & Trees … I know how I am voting.  Did I mention that this Pelland dork is also “a Duke fan” (TRUE!)


Swagger’s Stumper

The “most famous tree” on the UNC campus is not in Polk Place

It’s in McCorkle Place … what is it’s name?


    Cyrus The Virus was played by John Malkovich in Con Air w/ Nicholas Cage.  A first-rate “guy flick” for a weekend when the wimmen folk are out-of-town … so is “Dusk To Dawn” by the way.

    Looking for a cool clothing catalogue … check out www.territoryahead.com … looking for a gift for a certain Internet Legend … look no further.

    Bill Bunting has been in the banking/mortgage bizness in Rawlee for 30+ years … Cecil Harrison – a Rawlee attorney with Wade Smith’s crowd for 30 years … their Coach Bob Lewis is probably in the utter depths of Hell where he surely belongs … just kidding (sorta). 

   Speaking of Kinston … local cinema vixen, Jaime Pressley, is gaining legit acclaim for her role as a trailer trash skank on “My Name Is Earl” … says she modeled her character “after people I grew up with”.  It won’t BL Swagger or Charles Shackleford!

    Swagger has a typical week planned … UNC v Duke on Saturday … fly to Las Vegas Sunday for dealie w/ John Daly Sunday night … fly back Monday … BobLee ALIVE appearance in Kinston Rotary at 7:30 Tuesday AM (Vermillion’s) … fly to Kansas City on Wednesday for holidays w/ BLS Buddy Jerry Agar and in-laws.  But never fear, I’ll have my laptop and trusty wireless modem every step of the way.

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