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Kentucky Basketball: Calipari "98 percent evil?"

Calipari retracts his horns and barbed tail when he goes before the media.
Calipari retracts his horns and barbed tail when he goes before the media.

Thanks to KYGRLNNM for pointing me to this story by Michael Rosenberg of Check out this snippet:

Unless you are a Kentucky fan or related to Worldwide Wes, I just assume you want Kentucky to lose.

There are two reasons for this. One is the widespread belief that, while most humans are 98 percent water, John Calipari is 98 percent evil. Please understand: I am not saying Calipari is evil. I'm not criticizing him here at all. The point is not whether the belief is accurate, just that it is ubiquitous. And that means, right or wrong, most of the country wants Calipari to lose.

For pure controversy, this is one of the all-time great clips. It has nothing whatsoever to redeem it from a UK fan standpoint, and much to deride. It is, in it's essence, everything Kentucky fans loathe about the national sports media distilled down into 89 words.

If you are looking for hate to embrace as we embark upon our quest for #8, this is surely the fullest embodiment of it you are ever likely to find, notwithstanding the author's bizarre and risible disclaimer to the contrary. As a man who used to dislike Calipari in much the same way, it was easy for me to discover the root of my disdain for him after he was here for a while. It was nothing more than pure, unadulterated, green-eyed jealousy.

How dare Calipari tailor his team's game to what the best players in the nation would like? How dare he then use that system to draw in all these great players that were too good for college, but felt it was their best route to get where they really wanted to go ... the NBA. How dare he embrace guys who would jump to the NBA at the first available opportunity? That was just wrong, wasn't it?

After I came to understand that almost every Division I player, given the opportunity, would jump to the NBA at the first available opportunity if they were good enough, it seemed clear to me that Calipari was doing nothing wrong at all, he was simply understanding the limitations of the current system far better than anyone else until recently. There is no doubt at this point that every other coach would love to recruit just like Coach Cal with a few exceptions, but they simply don't have the ability to do so.

That, my friends, breeds the green-eyed monster, and that's where I was. Having been there, it motivates me to expose the hypocrisy and failure of reason behind such thinking. College basketball was "broken" (at least in the eyes of the sports purists) long before Calipari decided to embrace its brokenness rather than be run over by it.

With the stroke of a pen on a collective bargaining agreement, the NBA could restore college basketball to exactly what the sports purists want. Remember that, haters, while you are blaming Calipari.

For further emphasis, let's just substitute "Calipari" for "little girls" below:

UPDATE: I've had some people try to tell me that this wasn't an anti-Calipari article just because Rosenberg indicated in the text that he didn't agree with some of his own rhetorical devices.

But that is false.

Check this out. Money graf:

(By the way,I recently wrote a column trying to explain what makes Calipari tick, and why, of all the ethically challenged coaches in this sport, he is the most reviled. Is he really the worst of the worst? Or just the most successful of the worst? A few readers interpreted this to mean I was DEFENDING Calipari, which was never my intention … but upon re-reading the piece, I see why they thought that. I was not clear enough. Writer failure. My point was that, whether he is the worst of the rogues, or just the best at being a rogue, he is still a rogue. So let me state for the record: I believe Calipari breaks rules that haven’t even been created yet, and if I were a school president for a hundred years, overseeing a thousand sports, I would never hire John Calipari.)(emphasis mine)

This Rosenberg guy is a Calipari hater and is using weasel words to act like he’s just telling it like it is. I had forgotten all about this, but I remembered his prior work, and Rosenberg is one of the people he claims not to be in his article… You know, the ones who think Cal is “98% evil.”

The best thing to do when reading these articles is to look at how they say it, not just what they say. The fair-minded author would never use such charged wordplay to make that point -- it's not good writing. Rosenberg intended to be unfair, and to have this article stir up further sentiment against Calipari.

His own words indict him as dissembling in his most recent piece.