This morning, I had a surreal media moment.
I was preparing to do a live phone interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter about Rick Pitino and the Sacramento Kings. Pitino had already said he is not leaving Louisville, and then more specifically, through U of L sports information director Kenny Klein, that he was not going to the Sacramento Kings. The Kings owners, on the record, had said they’d had no contact with Pitino.
So a job that Pitino doesn’t want, for a team that doesn’t want him, and we’re going to talk about it live on “SportsCenter.”
These kinds of stories are some of the toughest to deal with as a reporter, because you honestly don’t know where the information is coming from.
My first thought on hearing this particular story is: “Rick Pitino is never going to live in Sacramento.”
Nothing against the place.
The problem is, there have been a lot of things lately that I’ve found myself reporting that I would’ve thought unheard of — so you don’t know what to think.
It’s important to note that Pitino has been pretty consistent in both knocking down individual rumors and in stating that he’s returning to U of L.
But events have added an intensity, I think, to this job speculation. I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to the Kings report, except that it came from a source, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, whom I know to be responsible and concientous.
And this afternoon, “NBA sources” told ESPN.com that Pitino’s “camp” actually initiated the contact with the Kings. And if that story is out there, you have to think now that other NBA teams with openings might be inclined to look his way more than they otherwise might have.
One emailer already wrote to me asking, “Why doesn’t Pitino just put out a definitive statement and stop this once and for all.”
The problem is, he put out a definitive statement less than 24 hours ago. Definitive statements are only good, it seems, until the next rumor rolls around.
The problem U of L has at the moment is that there’s an appearance of uncertainty. Maybe that’s not the reality. But the appearance is there. Rumors. An unusual legal situation. The departure of an assistant that happened to be the coach’s son.
And I’m guessing that appearance is only going to fuel more of this.