Boxer, Claressa Shields tells Basketball Society’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson how Duke’s Coach K try to play peacemaker with Serena Williams. Press Play Below To Listen!
A five time NCAA National Champion, Mike Krzyzewski has guided young men and prepared them for life as head men’s basketball coach at Duke University.
He’s coached folks like pending NBA Hall of Famer Grant Hill and NBA champion Kyrie Irving.
He’s also a mentor.
“The best conversations I had were with Coach K,” Duke’s Grayson Allen, a top 20 draftee in this week’s NBA Draft told CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter.
“I had countless conversations with him and he helped me with a lot of it through my career there.”
Coach K isn’t just a mentor; apparently he’s also a mediator, which makes sense.
Before amassing a stockpile of wins as Duke’s men’s coach, former Army Capt. Krzyzewski was a field artillery liaison to the infantry in the early 1970s at Camp Pelham, later named Camp Garry Owen.
His leadership skills were put to good use in Rio during the 2016 Olympics.
Apparently, Coach K diffused a disagreement over a picture between 23-time tennis grand slam winner, Serena Williams and two-time Olympic gold medalist boxer, Claressa Shields.
Shields, who has a huge fight next Saturday against fellow unified champion Hanna Gabriels at Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan, told me on a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, that Serena Williams ‘left a bad taste in her mouth’ after two bad encounters.
Shields says those encounters ultimately made her block the tennis star, her idol on Instagram.
Shields, who holds a career 78-1 record says that she first ran into Williams while hanging out with fellow boxers Shakur Stevenson, Kay Karoma and Mikaela Mayer. “I’m not the type of person to just jump on somebody,” Shields tells Scoop B Radio.
“So I was just like ‘Hey Serena,’and there was nobody around.”
“I talk very loud so when I said it, she didn’t say nothing. She just acted like she couldn’t hear me and just kept walking straight.”
Shields said that Shakur Stevenson looked at her and said: ‘Did she just ignore you?’
Shields said that that swipe was ‘strike one’ for Williams and that even though she let it go, she was very upset.
The second encounter with Serena and Shields caused Coach K to get involved during the 2016 Olympics it Rio. Apparently the confluict involved a picture.
According to Shields, the Duke coach promised to help her get a photo of the two of them together during the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympics.
Shields wasn’t feeling it. “During the walk, I walk in with Coach K and he tells me, ‘I’m going to get you that picture with Serena Williams,” Shields said of the peace making Duke coach.
“I told him, ‘No.’ I don’t want no picture, as a matter fact, you can ask her if you want, but I’m not going to ask her because I see how she is now.”
Shields said that Coach K went up to Williams, tapped her on the shoulder and the tennis star ignored him. “She finally looked back and saw it was him and walked away so fast,” said Shields.
“I just was like: ‘Who the hell does she think she is?'”
Shields also said that she later left Williams an Instagram message expressing her displeasure for the way that she was treated.
Shields said she later deleted the message and blocked the greatest female tennis player of all time on Instagram. The boxer now admits that she no longer wants to be like Williams and she wants to inspire other women to look up to her.
Worth noting: both Shields and Williams are living their best lives in 2018. This year, Williams had a baby, attended the Royal Wedding and is expected to play in Wimbledon.
Shields, a recipient of a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Award for “Biggest Powerhouse” acted in a Walmart ad directed by Dee Rees. In January she retained the WBC and IBF female super middleweight titles and won the WBAN after beating Tori Nelson.
Also worth noting: Shields will drop down to the middleweight division to face Hanna Gabriels next Saturday.