At least for the Blue Devils there is. By downing hometown favorite Butler University in the NCAA championship finale in Indianapolis, college basketball's 4th winningest program all-time returned to the Final Four this spring to gain its fourth national title.
Duke's previous national championships came in 1991, 1992 and 2001. The school has 15 Final Four appearances and six times has been a runner-up for the crown. The win over Butler improved Duke to 34-5 on the year, the 11th time in 29 years Duke has won at least 30 contests.
To celebrate Duke's return to the top of the college basketball world, Nikco Sports announced it will honor the Blue Devils 2009-10 season with a NCAA championship basketball limited to just 5,000. The balls will be sold to raise monies for the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership, which began in 1996 under Duke President Nan Keohane as a way to engage Duke University and its people in a structured partnership with the surrounding community, as many Duke employees live in the neighborhoods that surround the campus. In recent years, more than $12 million has been raised to invest in its partner neighborhoods.
These full-sized, licensed Duke NCAA championship basketballs produced by Wilson include four unique white panels on each ball, areas that feature the official Final Four logo, the Duke University official logo, the Wilson trademark logo, and two panels that recap the Blue Devils' post-season play in March as well as their overall season, with every game listed with opponent and final score.
The "Season To Remember" NCAA Final Four basketballs that celebrate Duke's 4th national title in school history can be purchased for $99 each by calling 1-800-345-2868 or visiting www.nikcosports.com http://www.nikcosports.com/ . Each basketball comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity to enhance the value and collectibility of the product.
In recent years, Nikco Sports has raised more than $1.7 million for children's charities.
One of the white panels will have a heading entitled Road to the Championship and include all the games the Blue Devils played throughout the NCAA tournament, including the Final Four wins over West Virginia and Butler. Another white panel is tabbed the Season To Remember section and will list the scores and opponents of each Duke regular season game, so that fans will have a complete recap of this historic run to glory.
"This has been a terrific run for Duke basketball, a team that seemed to hit its stride in winning the ACC tournament championship, and then continuing to improve throughout March," noted Nikco Sports president and CEO Craig Bidner, whose company has continued to give back to the community since its inception in 1993. "Duke just became more dominant as the tournament progressed.
"We are honored to be a small part of recognizing their fourth national basketball title with this historic commemorative item that will certainly be the envy of any Blue Devils fan while at the same time recognizing a great group in the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership that strives hard to help those within the community in many charitable ways, working with non-profits, local government and churches and other opportunities within the Duke community."
During the past several years, Nikco Sports has raised more than $1.7 million for charitable organizations across the nation with the issue of limited-edition sports memorabilia that has honored amateur and professional teams, as well as select athletes such athletes as Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Jerome Bettis, Ben Roethlisberger, along with Peyton Manning, Jim Kelly, Carson Palmer, Steve Young, John Elway, David Robinson, John Stockton, Magic Johnson, Roger Clemens, Ryne Sandberg, Paul Molitor, Kirby Puckett, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro, Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr., Nolan Ryan, Tony Gwynn, Craig Biggio and Cal Ripken Jr. ###