Kentucky Basketball: Calipari's Latest Communiqué


John Calipari has yet another of his interesting, somewhat cryptic posts on

I see some people are wondering why John Calipari chose to write this post today, and you can see why from the premise of his article:

That’s what "players first" is about. It isn’t "player first." People don’t understand it’s plural.

The first question that comes to mind is, what "people" is he talking to/about here? The players on the team? The fans? The media? To whom is this explanation addressed?

It’s fairly obvious that what he’s saying here is that a player can’t expect to come to Kentucky and be treated to the "gold standard" if he can’t lose himself in the team, make sacrifices for the team, and learn to love his teammates. That doesn’t exactly qualify as the archetype of deductive reasoning.

But the real question is, to whom is this philosophical exegesis directed? There is certainly reason to suppose it is directed internally, presumably at those players who have so far failed to live up to Calipari’s defined requirements of "players first."

But there is also reason to suppose it is externally directed as well, but not to the media, nor to the fans, but to prospective UK players – a reminder that coming to Kentucky comes with a price, and that price is the sacrifice of the individual high profile for the team. The sacrifice of shots (Anthony Davis is cited as an explicit example), the sacrifice of stardom except as part of a galaxy.

I very much doubt that it was directed either that the fans, or at the media. Calipari justifiably doesn’t care much at this point in the season what either of those groups think, and the media much less than the fans.

It also could have been a bit of navel-gazing with an eye toward promotion of his own pet basketball philosophy here at UK. Calipari has nothing if not a healthy ego, and we have seen this kid of thing before, although usually as less of an explanation than an outright directed pitch.

Whatever his intended audience and despite the futility of trying to discern his intent, nothing is more fun to me than speculating on the ways Calipari uses the Internet to motivate young people, both the ones currently under his charge, or those whom he hopes will be.

So what do you think?

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