Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, is a character. Unlike most politicians, he’s not afraid to make a total fool of himself for the sake of his city. I first discovered his zaniness during his interview with Matt Lauer before the Olympics, to which he arrived on a bicycle, hair flapping in the crisp London breeze. (Speaking of, Johnson’s hair could give Donald Trumps’ a run for its money.) But on Wednesday, Boris may have outdone himself.
In what was supposed to be yet another silly stunt to promote the Games, Johnson rode a zipline in Victoria Park clutching two Union Jack flags, a suit, and a bright blue hard hat. Just another day as mayor, right? No. The zipline sagged and Johnson got stuck 20m from the end. While most people would wait awkwardly for a ladder, Boris capitalized on the moment, waving his flags and leading the crowd in a “Go Team GB” cheer before telling reporters he was “very, very well thank you,” but that someone should “get me a rope, get me a ladder, I think the brakes got stuck.”
For attempting to make lemonade, Boris, I give you these news and views.
— Xavier Rathan-Mayes, 2013 SG and BFF of Andrew Wiggins, narrowed his list of schools to ten on Wednesday, and the Cats are among them. Rathan-Mayes will visit UK on Friday. While one of the obvious draws of landing Rathan-Mayes is the hopes Wiggins would follow, he’s turning heads for his strong play this summer. Evan Daniels says Rathan-Mayes is “a tremendous shooter/scorer” with “some Doron Lamb in him.” Rathan-Mayes and Wiggins, teammates, have openly expressed the desire to go to school together, possibly in 2013 if Andrew Wiggins reclassifies. With Julius Randle and the Harrison Twins possibly teaming up to come to Kentucky, could 2013 be the Year of the Package Deal?
— On Wednesday’s radio show, Matt and Ryan told you about “Curci’s Cats,” a group of former Kentucky football players who played for Fran Curci, including the 1977-78 UK football team, and their attempts to hold a reunion during the weekend of the South Carolina game at the end of September. There had been some discussion that players were told they would have to purchase tickets to the game instead of receiving them free from the University, but I spoke to Tony Neely, Director of Football Media Relations, who said that was not the case. Neely said that every football letterman who has graduated from the University receives one free season ticket per season with the option of buying more at face value without a K-fund donation, and that the ticket office hadn’t received any requests for tickets to the South Carolina game from the group. Steve Slates, who played for Curci in 1975 and 1976, is organizing the event and cleared up the misunderstanding on Wednesday afternoon. Slates said that the reunion is not an official UK event, and that they never requested free tickets from the University, and that during planning, there was some confusion between the players as to who would foot the bill. Slates was adamant that the university is not at fault; in fact, he said that once UK found out about the event, they tried to organize group seating for former players. All in all, the (unofficial) reunion is still on, and should be a great event to honor Coach Curci.
— You saw my post earlier about Frank Martin loving Pitbull, right??
— A day after Pete Thamel left The New York Times for Sports Illustrated, another familiar name has joined the ranks: Thayer Evans. Remember him? Like Thamel, Evans has it out for Calipari, constantly criticizing the Cats last season for being a “classic Calipari team” that was young and talented, yes, but because Cal can’t actually coach, wouldn’t win the title. Well, Thayer, how did that prediction work out for you? I don’t understand the hire; at times last season, Evans’ work was downright lazy, wallowing in generalities and cheap shots at Cal. I have no doubt that Thayer’s buddy Pete helped him get the job so the two could team up to take down the Big Blue whale. Does Sports Illustrated seriously want to lose all of its subscribers in the state of Kentucky? I guess the fireplace can always use more kindling.
— CoachCal.com has an awesome profile of Willie Cauley-Stein, the freshmen better known to fans as Kyle Wiltjer’s Goonie sidekick. In the piece, Cauley-Stein admits that he wasn’t quite ready for the spotlight when Coach Cal first came calling, but after visiting campus, he was sold:
“Alabama was nice, don’t get me wrong, I loved their campus and everything,” Cauely-Stein said. “We went to a football game and their fans are crazy, but once I came here, it was like a whole other level. They didn’t even know me but once they did, it’s like boom, they’re all over you. And then like 20-something thousand at a scrimmage was crazy. I’ve never seen that before. I went to K-State’s after Kentucky and it was just like no, this is not going to happen, I’m going to Kentucky.”
Pieces like this are my favorite because it gives us an in-depth look at the players we’ll come to love over the next season. Cauley-Stein said that while he may have come to Kentucky as a “project player,” he’s shifted gears since setting foot on campus and has a whole new mentality about reaching his potential. (Hopefully both on the court and on the camera. #gooniesforever)
— If you haven’t read Matt’s post about the agreement between the Yum Center and the Arena Authority, please scroll down and do so. In short: the city wants to attract an NBA team to generate revenue for the Arena, which is struggling to produce revenue, and stimulate the economy. The only problem? According to the agreement, UofL has scheduling rights to the arena, which means they can dictate which nights they want it and which nights they don’t. It’s no secret that Tom Jurich and Rick Pitino don’t want an NBA team in Louisville. Now, we have proof they are actively campaigning against it. For Louisville to get an NBA team, they’d have to renegotiate the lease with UofL. If UofL defaults on their bond? Well, they can just buy the arena themselves. Doesn’t make sense, does it?
— Finally, condolences to the voice of the Wildcats, Tom Leach, on the passing of his mother. The Big Blue Nation is with you, Tom.
— After an awesome morning at the Farm Boy Restaurant in Morgantown, the boys head to Bowling Green, where they will be LIVE from the Olde Stone Country Club. Don’t miss it.