Really, now, it’s getting a little ridiculous, or I’m just listening to too much talk radio. From what I can discern, the Yum! Center, which needs as many events as it can attract to pay off its bills, negotiated to host an EXHIBITION basketball game on Aug. 16. Tickets (some for as much as $100) go on sale tomorrow.
One team represents the Dominican Republic, and includes some players locals might be familiar with, most notably ex-U of L Cards Francisco Garcia and Edgar Sosa. The team is coached by the current University of Kentucky head coach, John Calipari, with the assistance of Joe B. Hall, the former UK coach who’s now in the talk radio business. They’ve got a similar game scheduled in Lexington.
The Dominicans will be taking on a collection of current NBA pros with ties to the region, primarily ex-UK stars including John Wall and Rajon Rondo. Their coach will be ex-U of L head man Denny Crum, who co-hosts the Joe B. and Denny talk radio show.
I wouldn’t expect to see much defense in the game, which will likely showcase the extraordinary athletic talents of these great players. But it’s an EXHIBITION, in August, and something you wouldn’t expect to attract too much attention.
So do you want to guess what’s been fueling controversy the last few days? It looks like either A: U of L fans are supposed to be upset because the UK coach is bringing a team to the Cards’ home court; or B: UK fans are upset that U of L fans aren’t pissed about the UK coach bringing a team to the Cards’ home court. Some U of L backers think Crum is disrespecting his old school by participating. Others think Calipari has some grand plan to exert control over the place and the hearts of both fans bases by showing off all the former UK stars.
Silly, isn’t it?
This morning, talk show host Drew Deener, who said he’d been inundated with texts about the issue, compared U of L to the good people of Whoville, who refused to be upset when their toys were gone on Christmas morning. Asked about it in a press conference, Rick Pitino (who some fans think should really be upset about who’s renting out Yum!) said that anyone willing to rent the “public facility” had a right to do so, whether it’s Lady Gaga or John Calipari. I heard a caller say, in a serious tone, that it’s OK to have the game and all, but as a U of L fan he was “hurt.”
The controversy has stirred the madness that is basketball in the Bluegrass, but not in a good way.