Debating William & Mary, sports and culture since 2011. Updated every Wednesday.

Validation of an A**hole: The John Calipari Story

In Basketball, Long form on April 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Dear John,

Congratulations, you bastard.

I really want to yell at you, but I can’t, you smug son of a bitch. There’s absolutely no way this will be taken away from you, is there? Unless it comes out that Anthony Davis’s conspicuous 1-for-10 shooting night was the product of some half-brained, pointshaving scheme manipulated by the Miller Lite version of Arnold Rothstein, there is no way the chickenshits at the NCAA will take this away from you.

But hell, you deserve it. You really do. You put together the best team in the country — far and away. North Carolina was the team to beat at the beginning of the year, then other teams like Missouri and Murray State and Marquette (and like 46 teams from Ohio) all made runs, but you’re the one who pulled it out. Not only that, you coached the hell out of them, too. When it looked like Bill Self was going to upstage you (again), you went to your trusty point guard Teague, who managed to absolutely nail a pair of threes at just the right moment after a season of being the odd man out in your offense. You weren’t forcing this one to the free throw lines again were you, you arrogant prick? Of course not, because like every virus, you adapt to your environment, making it impossible to develop a vaccine that could truly inoculate against you.

There is nothing I want more than to wipe that grin off your face, especially right before you go out and recruit another batch of McDonald’s All-Americans to repeat the whole cycle.

You survived the hype! You, you of the 500* career wins. You, who brought us Marcus Camby and his $40,000 pay-off, and Derrick Rose and his ersatz SAT scores. The same asshat who once referred to a reporter from the Newark Star-Ledger as a “f*cking Mexican idiot”. It’s your life, John Calipari! And I’ve only gone through the stuff Wikipedia has on you. Who knows what other shenanigans are tucked away in the fleshy crevices of your screaming, bloated head? Not me.

Know what the worst part of this is? The 33,782 contradictory think-pieces written about you by sportswriters, praising your knowledge of the game and willingness to take a not-that-morally-dubious-and-totally-legal stance on recruiting one-and-done players. I agree with them! I totally buy into that . You’re offering young players the chance to attend NBA Philips-Exeter or Andover for a year before they are inevitably drafted by the Washington Wizards or the Toronto Raptors. I can’t hold that against you, not even in the slightest.

But why does it have to be you? It’s like conceding victory to the office d-bag: the smart guy with the Dane Cook-ish f*ck you attitude and a propensity to over-quote Will Ferrell movies to the point where their luster has been tarnished by association with such a complete and utter toolbag. God, I hate that guy.

Have we really come so far from the days of men like John Wooden and Phog Allen? Are our coaching idols really defined by Rick Pitino’s callous gaze, Coach K’s emotionless stare or Calipari’s flopsweat?

No, I suppose not. Maybe it’s always been like this. Adolph Rupp’s players were busted for point-shaving. Bob Knight choked a kid. Even John Wooden’s saintly visage couldn’t keep his players from being seduced by wealthy UCLA boosters. And that doesn’t even go into all the weird stuff that went on with the Fab Five.

Maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe this is just the evolution of the college game. By several accounts, you’ve offered up solutions to the NBA and NCAA’s nebulous relationship as it relates to the one-and-done rule. You haven’t tried to oversell us on the “I really care about these kids” angle. Maybe you’re just a great coach and a better recruiter, and maybe that’s all there is to say about that.

I still can’t stand you.

Yours truly,

Crim Del Harris

P.S. I totally picked you to win it all this year, by the way. Not to gloat, but I even nailed the eight-point spread over Kansas. Big ups for that.


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