Kentucky coach John Calipari has taken some heat for omitting Rick Pitino during a recitation of the school’s great coaches during Big Blue Madness. I’m inclined to give him a break. If he’d mentioned Pitino, there likely would have been a negative reaction that would have drawn attention. And, of course, not mentioning him drew attention, too. It was a no-win.
(I’m more intrigued that Calipari needed to use a TelePrompter.)
But this selective use of history cuts many ways. Pitino himself is a practitioner of it. Walk into U of L’s practice facility and you’re greeted by a plaque of “Pitino players in the NBA.” Not former Cardinals in the NBA. Jamal Mashburn and Antoine Walker are on the wall. Rodney McCray and Pervis Ellison are not.
It’s all about recruiting, is the explanation. It sure isn’t about history.