On their way to Canada for the three Summer basketball games, John Calipari and the Basketball team will stop in Detroit to do another good deed for those less fortunate. As part of the “Samaritan’s Feet” program, Calipari and the team will wash the feet of, and give free shoes to, a group of underprivileged children in Detroit. The program allows those in need to be given shoes through donations and the like and Calipari and the UK basketball team will deliver a batch of shoes and then play basketball with the children at a local YMCA in Detroit.
The idea of washing the feet of those less fortunate of course comes from the Bible, where in the Book of John, Jesus commanded his followers to do as he did and engage in the act:
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Some denominations of Christianity still practice this command and it is still done in churches in parts of the mountains of Eastern Kentucky where I grew up. I find it actually really impressive that Calipari and the UK team would engage in the ritual as part of this good deed. There are fewer acts that show more humility than that of feet washing and outside of some mountain churches, it is a gesture that has been all but forgotten by most of society. To engage in it as part of a charitable act, with a group of basketball players, many of whom will one day be millionaires…well I actually find it amazingly refreshing. We often talk about how Calipari’s charitable acts get far less coverage than the outlandish accusations thrown his way, but this deserves some attention, not only for the gift given to the organization in the form of the shoes but the symbolic nature of the act that accompanies it.
I give Calipari and the UK basketball team a great deal of credit for what I find to be one of the most interesting acts of charity that I can remember in a long time.