The Brooklyn Nets raised a few eyebrows when they announced the signing of David Duke Jr. The good news is that this David Duke is a 6-foot-5 guard from Providence College. He is by no means related to the David Duke who formerly served as the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan.
There’s no doubt that Duke — the Nets player — has been asked many times in the past about sharing a name with one of the most infamous figures in American neo-Nazi history. Nevertheless, Duke had a proud response when faced with this same question by NBA reporters:
“If anybody should change his name, it should be him. I should be the one keep it,” Duke said, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post “…One day I’m just hoping that when you look it up, it won’t be so much negative around it.”
It is clear that Duke has turned what was once a curse into his motivation to “clear” his name. He hopes to do exactly that now that he’s in the NBA. Duke isn’t guaranteed a spot in the Nets rotation this coming season, but the fact that he’s now in the NBA is a huge step towards achieving his life-long dream.
Duke went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft, after putting up career-best averages of 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists as a junior for Providence College. Duke will now look to use the preseason to prove his worth to coach Steve Nash, with the hopes of earning his spot on the team.