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Charting “Cal-speak”

John Calipari is a character. Over the past few years, we’ve become accustomed to his over-the-top style, including what I like to call “Cal-speak,” a special blend of 60% BS, 25% truth and 15% WTF. At the rate he repeats certain quotes, we could make our own dictionary of “Cal-isms” (which may happen if I get really bored next offseason). As a start, let’s chart some of Cal’s most famous quotes on a scale of 1-10, 1 being your normal, everyday coaching quote to 10 being absurd.

“We’re not very good right now”
Cal-speak rating: 7
This has been one of Cal’s favorite sayings so far this season, and I have to roll my eyes at it sometimes. Yes, we are young and prone to dumb errors (see: the first half against Transy), but the amount of talent on the floor at any given time (minus the celebratory “White-Out” moments) trumps almost any team out there. I know Cal’s trying to temper expectations, but let’s face it: We may not be very good right now, but we’re going to be darn good come March.

“You people are crazy”
Cal-speak rating: 6
We are, and he loves it.

“We’re everyone’s Super Bowl”
Cal-speak rating: 7
Again, true. See: every single game we play. **shudder at the Christian Watford memories**

“This is a players-first program.”
Cal-speak rating: 5
The reason Cal can win win win no matter what what what? He puts his players first, which includes a new practice facility, new dorm, new locker rooms at Rupp, and yes, advising his most talented players to go pro if given the right opportunity. Why? Because…

“We’re in the business of helping families”
Cal-speak rating: 4
As of late, Cal has preached more about changing families’ lives than anything.

“Be your brother’s keeper”
Cal-speak rating: 6
Cal’s proven that the only way you can get that much talent to work as a team is to get them to play selflessly. See also: “Anthony Davis took the fifth most shots last year. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist took the fourth most shots.”

“They want to be us. Not beat us, be us.”
Cal-speak rating: 8
Swag so hard.

“This isn’t for everyone”
Cal-speak rating: 6
It takes a special kind of player to handle the Kentucky basketball lifestyle, a.k.a. “The Fishbowl.” You want to stay out late, drink, and party? Go up I-64.

“I can’t hide you here”
Cal-speak rating: 7
Having an off day? Too bad, it’s all over ESPN. See also: Terrence Jones at Indiana last season.

“I keep it real”
Cal-speak rating: 7
Best way to relate to kids? Speak their language.

“They think they poop ice cream”
Cal-speak rating: 1,000
Ah, the quote that launched a thousand KSR posts. Until he says something even more ridiculous, this is the gold standard of Cal-speak.

This is just a start. What else should be added to the Cal-speak lexicon?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

26 Comments for Charting “Cal-speak”

  1. Invisable Obama
    4:09 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    My favourite: “Happy birthday to (insert name here), Mrs. Calipari has your brownies ready!

    Bronco Bama!

    There’s crazy, and there’s this kind of crazy. —>

  2. Kevin Sparks Janeway
    4:21 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    This site is one of the places I go to everyday for UK news and views, and this piece by Tyler is why..Love it!

    4:24 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    “I just coach my team”

  4. What
    4:26 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    What do you mean by “white out”

  5. CaveCat
    4:28 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    FU for the Christian Watford reference. You can’t hide here sweet momma.

  6. Branjo
    4:28 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    “Pikeville to Paducah!” “Do your Job” “I like my team”

  7. bigbluejon
    4:29 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    Calipari now posing with Charlie Sheen… This bothers me to no end.

  8. Cal says
    4:30 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    My dad was a coal miner

  9. Joe
    4:31 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    Better yet, things I wish Cal would say:
    1) On that NC game, I mean if I wanted to win by 30, we could have. We were up 15 with like 15:00 left and we took the air out of the ball. The game really wasn’t that close. When Bill Self said that they just ran our of time, I thought he moved to Colorado and was starting something.

    2) Bobby Knight, I’ll say this, overrated as a coach. He choked his own players for crying out loud. He should’ve been banned from coaching a long time ago. Ask yourself this, would you want your kid to play for a coach that like?

    3) I like journalism. It fulfills an important role in our society. But you gotta shake your head in disbelief with the agenda of some national media members. I mean, you have UNC running a diploma mill, Duke players getting improper benefits, Syracuse with the Bernie Fine situation, and Kansas with the Pump brothers, and none of it gets much ink at all. Shameless, I tell you.

  10. ben chandler
    4:31 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    Andy Barr poops coal

  11. Howboutthemcats
    4:31 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    ” I don’t really like this stuff, it’s fun for the kids. But I don’t like it”
    Seriously Cal, You thrive in it!!!!

  12. knightynight
    4:34 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    Be the best version of you.

  13. Dumbledore
    4:36 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    My wife makes a nice salad that i enjoy eating.

  14. Pu
    4:38 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    4) Any combination of Lanter, Long, Polson, Malone, Hood, or Wiltjer on the floor at the same time…

  15. Stumps
    4:44 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    How about calling it a “Kentucky Christmas”. Everyone loves when it snows on xmas day…and the cats are up by 30.

  16. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    5:48 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    “Grand Poo-bah”

  17. Bart
    6:14 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    How about ” these kids are not robots!”
    “Fire up the treadmill!”. Or, just saying “come on”
    After every comment

  18. hh
    6:22 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    you forgot about “were so young”

  19. HendoJody
    6:25 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    “If we do right by them, they’ll drag us where we want to go”

    6:55 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    “I was born and raised the son of a coal miner and now I’m coaching at the University of Kentucky? Are you kidding me? Come on!”

    7:18 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    “We don’t thread the needle, we ARE the needle”

  22. In Cal We Trust
    8:17 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    Every time UK basketball has lost a game on the road since Cal has been at UK, the other teams fans have stormed the basketball court. UK basketball=Super Bowl

  23. wanye east
    8:23 pm November 7, 2012 Permalink

    “If the other team y shoots 15 for 20 from 3, It’s been a good start”

  24. SLEEPY
    7:33 am November 8, 2012 Permalink

    I wish I “pooped ice cream” I love that shit!

    ^^^^^^^SEE WHAT I DID THERE^^^^^^^

  25. SB
    3:32 pm November 8, 2012 Permalink

    “We don’t move the needle. We are the needle.”