I’ve been thinking about this a lot. A whole lot. “Where is Aminu Timberlake right now? What is he doing?”
You remember Aminu, right? He’s the guy who got stomped by Christian Laettner during the greatest college basketball game ever. The one where Laettner didn’t miss a shot and made the game winner as time expired. You’re familiar, right? Here is a video of Aminu getting stomped just to jog your memory.
Sometimes thinking about Aminu’s current whereabouts keeps me awake at night. Sometimes it affects my ability to perform my work responsibilities. And sometimes I get texts like the one I got from my friend Ben Pedigo on Wednesday and my head almost explodes.
Ben: I’m having lunch with Aminu Timberlake tomorrow.
I had SO MANY questions and thoughts run through my mind before I texted him back: How does Ben know Aminu Timberlake? How does Aminu Timberlake know Ben? Where are they going to eat? Who will pay? Will they split it? Is Aminu willing to sit at the bar if there is a long wait? What city is this going to happen in? Is it going to happen in Nashville? Is there anyway I can weasel my way into this lunch? How long of a lunch break is too long? Is a really long lunch acceptable to all employers if it’s with Aminu Timberlake? Why am I sweating?
After I had considered all these questions I decided to text this back.
Aaron: Haha awesome where?
Played it cool. Didn’t act too excited. Definitely going to try to weasel my way in.
Well, crap. I can go a lot of places for lunch. Atlanta isn’t one of them. I’m realize I’m going to have to live vicariously through Ben.
Today I texted Ben to find out how the lunch was. He said it was awesome and that Aminu was a GREAT dude. Ben was then gracious enough to email me everything he learned about Aminu.
I didn’t write anything down so this is going to be pretty crude as far as details go but I’ll do my best…
Aminu works in the corporate world now but still finds time to coach youth basketball around raising two little girls. He is extremely active in the North Atlanta Church of Christ. He serves in a mentorship program that they call Trail Guides.
I asked him a few questions that any Kentucky fan would have.
On the infamous stomp: “It looked way worse than it really was. I’m not even sure he kicked me as hard as he could.”
On if he holds a grudge: “People always ask me if I hold a grudge with Christian and I always laugh. I’m 40, well, almost 40 years old (laughs). That was over 20 years ago. What kind of a grown man holds a grudge for 20 years?”
He said he hasn’t spoken to Laettner since that game. He seemed almost surprised by that fact. He said he has been interviewed and asked to take part in banquets even as recently as this past year but has never encountered him.
On the experience of playing for Kentucky: He said that with the resurgence of the program and national attention given to that play leading up to UK vs. Duke this year he has been incredibly humbled by people who recognize him. He can still remember the line of people asking for a picture after he wore the “I Still Hate Laettner” shirt in Madison Square Garden at the Champions Classic.
“It’s been a very humbling but a very fun experience, especially because, since I transferred, I never really felt apart of the ‘history’ or legacy of Kentucky. Not too long ago, I was at an event honoring the 1991-1992 team and I was sitting next to Goose Givens. I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on when they asked for the team to stand and be recognized so I turned and started to clap for those guys (like Mash and Feldhaus) and just thought ‘Yeah, those guys were great.’ The Goose turns to me and says, ‘They are clapping for you. You are just as much a part of this family as they are.’ That’s when I realized that even though I transferred to SIU (Note: Aminu transferred to SIU to finish his career), I would always be a part of the Kentucky Family.”
Aminu still cheers for the team and particularly the women’s team since he has little girls. He knows all about the incoming class and was quick to defend our woes this season by saying, “Just wait ’til next year.”
It was an incredible lunch. He spent a good deal of time asking questions about me and talking about his faith journey. He’s an incredible man.”
So there you go, KSR readers. We can now rest easy knowing that Aminu Timberlake is doing well and living in Atlanta. We all keep up with John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Tayshaun Prince, and Jamaal Mashburn. And we should. But as Aminu alluded to, all Kentucky basketball players are part of the family. In closing, thanks to Ben for taking the time to share his experience with us. I’ll leave you with picture of him with Aminu after lunch.