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Boston Globe: Pitino beloved everywhere he’s been… except Boston.



Back-to-back Final Fours. A spot in the Hall of Fame. Junior taking over for Tubby at Minnesota. I don’t know about you, but I’m already tired of this premature (pun not intended, but sort of intended) victory lap that Ricky Three Stacks seems to be taking. You know who else is? The city of Boston.


With his hall of fame enshrinement now a sure thing, Pitino’s legacy has been a constant topic of conversation down in ATL this past week. And with all the “he’s taken three different schools to the Final Four” talk, it’d be easy to assume that his legacy is essentially flawless. Yeah, um, that’s not going over so well up in the Northeast. Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe has more:


To those in Kentucky – whether they bleed Kentucky blue or Louisville red – Rick Pitino is king. He has brought both schools to the Final Four, winning the 1996 national championship with the Wildcats, and he stands just two wins away from the same glory with Louisville.

But whether he wins on Saturday or Monday, or both or neither, Pitino will leave Atlanta one step closer to basketball immortality, with the news breaking Friday that he has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Still, for all his greatness in the college ranks – he is the only coach to have officially taken three teams to the Final Four, also having gone with Providence – Pitino has a mixed legacy in Massachusetts.

There was his time at UMass, playing for Jack Leaman. There was his time at Boston University, where he mastered the press. And there were the Celtics days, a coaching stint that still provokes bitterness around Causeway Street.

“If I had Tim Duncan, I may still be in Boston,” Pitino said at his press conference at the Georgia World Congress Center on Friday.

He laughed. Much of Boston groaned.


Groaned? Talk about an understatement. As someone who grew up in Boston, let me be clear… Celtics fans HATE Rick Pitino. Prior to the C’s recent KG-led run of success, the most decorated franchise in the history of organized basketball was in shambles. And according to the vast majority of the fan base, two things were entirely responsible for that: Cocaine (due to the Len Bias overdose), and the hiring of Rick Pitino.


So yeah, a flawless Hall of Fame legacy for Ricky P? Not so much, according to Bostonians.


PS: I’d quibble with the whole “Pitino is king” in Kentucky thing, but I like to imagine that there are two different Rick Pitinos. The one who made UK basketball tickets the most precious things in life, and the one who bombed with the Celtics and currently dresses like a mafioso on tour with Sir Elton John.


Article written by Andrew McCarthy

37 Comments for Boston Globe: Pitino beloved everywhere he’s been… except Boston.

  1. quickneasycat
    4:07 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    who is the guy on the right in that pic?

  2. DesignatedDrinker
    4:07 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    I realize politics play into things, but Petrino will always be a womanizer. Eddie Sutton and Billy G will always be drunks. And Rick Pitino will always be the man who cheated on his wife with a psycho in a restaurant then paid her to have the fetus murdered. The Final 4 is struggling for stories, but this man is gutter trash, UK loyalty aside. Calipari does the same as Pitino did, fire him. Thing is Cal wouldn’t do that…Won’t read that in national media or the Courier.

  3. klassact32
    4:10 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    I could almost like Louisville and then I see a picture or hear Pitino and that goes away. I rarely hate someone but Pitino is one I truly hate.

  4. Chauncey Billups
    4:10 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    @1, I think it’s me

  5. Eli
    4:10 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t fancy myself an expert on NBA history, but I do recall the Celtics being pretty crappy when they hired Pitino. He didn’t do them any favors, but it’s not like they were in any danger of winning any championships any time soon, either. Honestly they were irrelevant for quite a long time, up till the big three trade days.

  6. VindatUK
    4:10 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    1 – Chauncey Billups

  7. miles
    4:13 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    ease off the guy. He’s undisputably a great college basketball coach whose system did not translate well in the NBA. There is no reason to hurl stones at one of the best coaches we ever had. By the way Cal also had a pretty bad stint in the pros but we dont talk much about that. Pitino coaches our bitter rival but he is also the reason we have a couple of banners up there in Rupp

  8. Deepblue
    4:17 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Retarded…2% of the population of KY thing P is king. Stupid article.

  9. Donna
    4:20 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    There’s only one banner hanging from Pitino’s time @ UK.

  10. miles
    4:36 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    #9 the 98 team was Pitino’s roster/recruits plus the banners hanging in rupp include “runner-up” and final fours. So youre pretty wrong

  11. Bill
    4:47 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Check out Siva’s dad…. think he drove his trailer to Atlanta?

  12. Sam
    4:49 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    1 & 6: I thought that was Ramel Bradley? Weren’t the three ex UK players there for a short time?

  13. klassact32
    4:51 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t need some one to tell me to “ease” up on the guy. He always believed he was bigger than the program, and no one is bigger than UK basketball. I don’t care how low or how high the program is, no one is larger. He never understood that and therefore never got UK basketball, that was truly evident when he became the head coach at UL. You want to like him that is your choice but don’t tell me how to feel. Interesting that that he can be forever remembered along with Eddie Sutton in The Hall of Fame. It should be renamed to Hall of Shame. Last I checked Sutton put UK on probation and yet he ends up in Hall of Fame. Those two belong together!

  14. Tg
    4:59 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    More racist comments about Siva’s dad, nice

  15. Bill
    5:11 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    14. Don’t worry TG… no matter the race, that is trailer trash!

  16. blueblue
    5:14 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Definately not Ramel Bradley. Smooth would have been in middle school when that picture was taken.

  17. brain
    5:20 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Cal is the undisputed King of Kentucky while Pitino is the Napoleon.

  18. mudcreekmark
    5:21 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    12)That is Chauncey Billips who Pitino picked forth I think in his first draft after being hired. He gave Wayne a ten day contract a couple of times I think. That is the third UK player you are thinking of and I think he also brought in Walter Mccarty later on.

  19. mudcreekmark
    5:22 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Wayne Turner, sorry.

  20. steven
    5:36 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    I’m sucking on some sour uk grapes too.

  21. Rixter
    5:42 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    If he’s a great coach, he’s a great coach who has ZERO wins in the Final 4 since 1997. (16 years ago) In the last 16 years, there are a lot of mediocre coaches who have won a game at the Final Four.
    If he’s a great coach, he’s a great coach who is anything but a role model for the kids who are left in his care for 4 years.
    If he’s a great coach, so be it. He is a miserable human being.

  22. Rixter
    5:45 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    I hate to bring up the obvious, but with Louisville taking the focus off the Final Four and onto Kevin Ware, how’s that poor kid going to feel is they LOSE???? WOW!

  23. Rixter
    5:47 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    There were 3 former Cats playing for Pitino in Boston, Walter McCarty was the other player.

  24. Blue Boy
    5:57 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    The standards for getting in the Hall must have taken an all-time moral low standard. Tubby should had gone in front him.

  25. 1catfan
    5:59 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    50% of the fans in Louisville hate traitor rick

  26. Mike
    6:04 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Man Matt always talks about haters Mr McCarthy but how about letting the man have his moment.Last I heard Boston wasn’t in the NCAA.How do you think New Jersey feels about Cal or UMass or Memphis.Instead of trying to feed off of the frenzy of fans why not try actual writting

  27. kyauthorsd
    6:09 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    What is this guy smoking? Hardly anybody in Kentucky likes Rick Pitino. I was with him twice on a one-to-one basis and I found him to be the most arrogant man I’ve ever met. I also talked to Adolph Rupp, Joe B Hall, and Tubby Smith on a one-to-one basis. Rupp too was full of himself, but not to the extent of Pitino. Tubby Smith went out of his way to be nice to me. I will never be a Rick Pitino or a U of L fan.

  28. Catmedic
    6:10 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    He is not loved here. Poor character. Should not mentor young men in any way.

  29. Rixter
    6:24 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Pitino is not beloved in Kentucky, outside of Louisville. Oh, he was…back in the day, but no longer. Kinda like Lance Armstrong was beloved by America at one time, but not so much these days.
    I’d venture to guess they’re not too excited about him in Hawaii, either.. where he put them on NCAA probation

  30. Cotton Mash
    6:32 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    I was at Fenway a couple of nights in the summer of
    2001 after UL had hired him… wearing a UK shirt,
    the fans really let me have it about him everywhere
    I went in the city.

  31. the Big Dog
    7:10 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    What are you smoking? Ricky Three Stacks loved in KY?

  32. Plain Truth
    8:25 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Just to clear this up, a basketball program that won more games than anyone over 6 decades and 8 National Championships is the King. He is just one of 5 Generals that has contributed to the success. They were winning it all way before him and will be way, way after he is gone.

  33. Bigcat4453
    8:38 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    Good to see the REFS Save UL there I was beginning to think it wouldn’t happen for them!

  34. SmartCat
    10:01 pm April 6, 2013 Permalink

    How did your beloved Calipari do in the NBA?

  35. Jackie Moon
    12:18 am April 7, 2013 Permalink

    Mad props to Ricky P for putting the Cats back on the map in the 90’s.

  36. Bledsoe's Biceps
    7:00 am April 7, 2013 Permalink

    Boston sucked long before Pitino was hired and for several years after. Whether you like it or not, the HOF selections are based on accomplishments on the court and not a person’s character or personality. Sure Pitino has a huge ego, but so do many other successful coaches (Cal, Boeheim, Calhoun, Knight, etc, etc). Pitino has demonstrated deplorable character. But again, so has Knight, Calhoun, Sutton and other HOF coaches. I still appreciate what Pitino did in rebuilding the UK basketball program, but think he is a narcissistic, despicable human being.

  37. Dane Brammage
    8:29 am April 7, 2013 Permalink

    Rick ‘Benedict Arnold’ Pitino.

    We should never forget what he did for KENTUCKY.

    We should also never forget what he did to KENTUCKY.