Patrick King, better known to the world as Duke's "Speedo Guy," strikes his iconic pose.
YouTube Screenshot: ESPN

Two Decades Later, the Legend of Duke's 'Speedo Guy' Lives On

What would you do to distract a basketball player at the free throw line? Traditionally, fans have waved their arms, held up signs and screamed at the top of their lungs to get a player to miss a free throw. And more often than not, it doesn't work. Once the player at the line is focused on the rim, he's able to ignore what's happening behind the basket. But 20 years go, that simply wasn't the case, as the world was introduced to "Speedo Guy."

Speedo Guy: Duke Basketball's Secret Weapon

The setting was Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the Duke Blue Devils. The Blue Devils were playing their arch rivals, the North Carolina Tar Heels. Whenever North Carolina visits, the "Cameron Crazies" the name of the fans in the student section — are exceptionally loud. But for this game, one particular "Crazy "had something planned that no one had ever seen before.

UNC guard Jackie Manuel had just been fouled and awarded two free throws. Once he got to the line, everyone in the student section behind the basket sat down. That was unusual. When an opponent gets to the line, normally you want to be up so you can attempt to be in the player's line of sight. Yet everyone was sitting. Hidden among the students was grad student Patrick King, who convinced the section to sit down. He had a plan that would make him a legend.

As Manuel got to the line and mentally prepped for his first free throw, King emerged from his seat like a flower sprouting in spring. He was wearing nothing but a blue Speedo. Gyrating and dancing like one of those inflatables at a used car dealership, King's antics caused Manuel to miss the first free throw. Feeding off the adrenaline of his plan working, King went even harder. On the second attempt, he rose like the Bellagio Fountain and danced his heart out. Manuel missed again, and "Speedo Guy" was born.

Manuel has gone on to say that he noticed King when he first stood up in the stands and was laughing on the inside. He knew, however, that he needed to focus and tried to ignore the nearly naked grad student. He clearly wasn't able to block out one of, if not the, greatest distractions of all time.

One coach wasn't a fan of the antics, and it wasn't the one on the UNC bench. After King pulled a similar stunt later in the 2003 season, coach Mike Krzyzewski publicly suggested that King's behavior was not suitable at an institution like Duke.

Perhaps the most incredible aspect of this whole situation was that King was a Duke Divinity student. After graduation, he became pastor at a church in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has since left that world and is now a director of business at a furniture company. He is married, to a woman who first dated his brother, and has two children.

As his wife has told King before, the legend of "Speedo Guy" will never die, and it never should.

MORE: Cameron Crazies: Meet College Basketball's Wildest Student Section