John Calipari apparently believes it when he says things like the University of Kentucky is the center of the college basketball universe, that other schools want to be UK.

“Understand that: They want to be us. Not beat us. Be us. So they’re coming at you, trying to say, ‘You win against Kentucky, it shows that we’re them.’ So everybody we play is going to bring it and bring it at a high level.”

He reminds one of the squeaky-voiced braggart in the schoolyard, the effeminate one with the wealthy parents, having everything handed to him, buying his friends, kidding himself into thinking he accomplishes anything on his own, the other kids knowing better, but having to tolerate the spoiled rich kid.

Basketball is the reason Kentucky is not taken seriously in football. Why would anyone who follows Ohio State want to be Kentucky? Most teams would want to be in Ohio State’s shoes this weekend, with a chance to send the Wildcats and their fans home one more time.

If given a choice between being Duke and UK, most people would pick Duke. Not even a contest. You could add UCLA, North Carolina and dozens of other schools.

Few schools want the kind of reputation that comes with being Kentucky, with the many encounters the school has had with the NCAA. The odds of new chapters being added to that shady history are fairly significant, probably inevitable.

Wanting to be Kentucky? Calipari has been in Lexington too long already.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

29 thoughts on “Anybody want to be Kentucky?”
  1. It doesn’t surprise me to hear a Louisville fan say Calipari has been in Lexington too long. Things just aren’t quite the same for UL since he arrived, are they? Oh, one more thing…at least UK is not home already like the Cards.

    1. Oh great comment Kevin….how long did it take you to think that one up?! Even though we are out of the tourney, most, if not all, U of L fans are still very proud of the things our team did this year. Nothing for our kids to hang their heads about.

      Be glad you have basketball right now bc it’s a long time till next season with nothing to cheer for in between! At least U of L is successful in more than one sport.

      1. Nice try, but next time check your facts. If my memory serves me correctly I believe we’ve beaten you in football the last 4 years…but who’s counting? I’d like to see Louisville’s football team play an SEC schedule…now that would be funny.

    2. Classy UK fan as always

      The whole basketball universe wants to beat Kentucky because they’ve all had the misfortune of running in to fans like you.

      1. Rob, come on now…it’s all in fun. Charlie used his platform to take a few shots at UK. I was simply pointing out a few facts. Be careful referring to class though. Rick hasn’t exactly helped you out in the “class” department with some of his actions.

    3. I wonder if UK’s women’s basketball coach Matthew “I hate every thing about Louisville” Mitchell wants to be Jeff Walz? LADY CARDS. Still dancing. LADY KATS. Resting till next year.

  2. If Cal is the rich kid braggart on the playground, then you and UL are the All-American kids that should’ve been winners but weren’t. You sound like a sore loser. UL and UK are my two favorite programs. Get over it.

  3. Born in Louisville,grew up listening to the great wildcat teams when UL had nothing. Graduated with two degrees from UK.

    Historically, UL is a late comer in basketball compared to UK.

    UK is a magical name in basketball.

    But, Calipari and Springer are both right.

    Everyone wants to BEAT Kentucky…(especially Pitino)

    and, everyone wants to be Kentucky..

  4. I heard that Kentucky was actually a dominant program at one time. I’m only 50 years old though, so I’m too young to remember those days.

    1. Jonesy, remind me again…how long has it been since UL won a championship? Hasn’t it been 25 years or so? Surely you can remember back to 1998 or 1996 if you try really hard. You guys are cracking me up.

        1. Charlie, although it would kill you to admit it I’m sure you wish UL had the tradition that UK is known for and the 7 National Championship banners hanging in the KFC Bucket or whatever that place is called. I havent changed the subject once. I’ve simply replied to your article and the comments from the others. Maybe you should use your blog or whatever it is to discuss UL topics instead of taking shots at UK. It just sounds like sour grapes when your team has already been upset and sent home. Ohio State may very well send us home tonight as you mentioned but I like our chances and look forward to watching my team play in the Sweet 16 which is more than you can say.

          1. There you go again, reciting the ancient history. We would mind our own business if UK fans wouldn’t keep sticking their noses in it. We have to put up with your fan base on a daily basis. If you were who you thought you were, we might seriously consider what Calipari said, but Kentucky is something else altogether and we don’t want any part of it … on the court or off of it.

            1. Ancient history indeed, Charlie. Most of those “seven national championships” were won before the integration of college basketball, back when UK was stockpiling their 2K wins against teams like the Lexington YMCA. Why would anyone want to be a program that hasn’t even made a final four since the turn of this century? That’s hilarious–and delusional.

            2. I can honestly say that there is no aspect of little brother u down the road in lessington that I would want to emulate. Not their point shaving, magic fax machines, faulty grade point averages or anything else. Yeah, rick has made his mistakes. So has billy clyde, little eddie s, adolph r, and every other person associated with that program. Get over it. We do not want to be you!!

  5. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a dump truck driver (seriously). You know, dump a load somewhere and then move on. Come to think of it, that’s what Coach Cal does. So, I guess, yeah, I want to be the UK coach! Cal’s right!

  6. If I wanted to be UK then all it requires are a few surgical procedures.
    1) Remove the half of my brain that covers logical, rational thought;
    2) Commit 95% of my income to buying anything and everything that has UK on it;
    3)Being so obnoxious the rest of the planet thinks that UK fans should be spayed or neutered; and
    4) Having a blind faith that no matter we (uk) do, we will always be better than UL!

    Sorry little brother in lessington, only in your convoluted little minds would anyone outside of lessington want to be uk! The main reason people want to beat uk is so their fans will shut the hell up!

  7. It sucks doesnt it…. Ole Pitino’s relations last longer than your tournament run.

  8. Kevin, in the last 50 years, it’s three titles to two. Big fat hairy deal. I guess you’re too young to have suffered through UK’s stretch of one title in 37 years (1959 through 1995 – you could look it up).

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