John Calipari has had a busy last week or so. From visiting with celebrities and former players, graduation for his current guys, getting work done on the recruiting trail, and even taking in some pro sports matchups along the way, he has been racking up the miles in the last couple of days.
Monday night was no different as the Kentucky head coach was in Los Angeles to take in Game 4 between the Lakers and the Golden State Warriors. He went in support of three of his former Wildcats in Anthony Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Wenyen Gabriel. However, it was also the perfect opportunity for him to break out his new Kobe IV Protro ‘Mambacita’s’ that were a gift from the family of the late great Kobe Bryant.
Calipari received the shoes back on May 1st as part of their release. Vanessa Bryant and the Bryant family released them that day in honor of their late daughter, Gigi, for what would have been her 17th birthday.
This goes back to Calipari’s connection to the family from at least October 2022. Besides being a major face in the basketball world all while at a Nike school, UK was also the host of a free camp through the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation for underserved youth in Lexington. At the time, it was the program’s first partnership with a university.
Calipari had plenty of business to attend to while in The City Of Angels last night. Even so, he made sure to show love to Bryant’s family while watching the Laker win in a venue that he helped build.
Calipari shares what he still wants to accomplish at Kentucky
Of course John Calipari wants to win national championships. Who doesn’t?
Fans are convinced the Kentucky basketball coach isn’t putting his best effort into making his team the perennial powerhouse it was for his first nine seasons in Lexington.
Since 2019, Kentucky has won just one NCAA Tournament game. Calipari has seen seven of his players go drafted since then as well. His mission has always been to change the lives of his players for the better. In that case, he has never failed. Just ask the 27 former UK stars that are on NBA rosters today.
“When I think about my journey, here’s this kid from Moon Township, Pennsylvania, that has the ability to change lives for families as he competes for national titles. Sometimes we are better than others, and others are better than us, but by the end of the year, we’re playing our best basketball,” Calipari said, via Fox Sports. “I would like to get the De’Aaron Fox‘s, Malik Monk’s, and you go down the list of great players we’ve had. That’s why this recruiting class is important to what we’re trying to do.”
Calipari always makes sure that commits know just how hard it is to play for him. As he says, Kentucky is not for everyone.
“What moves me is going into a home, looking at the home, and saying to a family, ‘We can do this if we work together. I’m not promising you anything,” Calipari said. “This is really hard here at Kentucky. If you’re built for this it’s really rewarding. My job is to make you uncomfortable. You know, every game that we play is somebody’s Super Bowl. Every practice we have, there are scouts here. Do you really want that?’”
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