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University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

Kentucky Pickers: the original 1996 and 1998 Championship banners


If there’s one thing Kentucky fans love more than their teams, it’s the stuff they can buy to support them. KSR wants to see your odd and unique UK memorabilia. No, not just your run of the mill UK flag or t-shirt collection. We want the weird stuff. Have a stuffed Wildcat eating a cardinal? Send it in. A portrait of John Calipari made entirely of popcorn? Send it in. The odder, the better.

Since putting out the call for the Big Blue Nation’s oddest UK memorabilia, we have received over 50 emails containing some seriously strange and wonderful pictures and stories. We’ll post the best ones throughout the summer, starting with the actual original 1996 and 1998 Championship banners. Here’s the story behind them, from Dustin Smith:

1996 Banner 1998 Banner

“In 2009 before the spring game, the athletic department decided to have an auction for a lot of the excess equipment and paraphernalia that they had accumulated in their warehouse. Most of this was simply excess equipment (jackets, cleats, etc.). However, unbeknownst to most people they had replaced the original championship banners in Rupp several years prior and decided to sell the originals. It was easy to tell that they were originals because the older banners were actually hand painted instead of printed. My brother was a student working in the athletic department at the time and let me know that they would be auctioned off so we placed several bids in the blind auction. In the end we ended up winning the championship banners from 1996 and 1998 along with the runner-up banner from the groundbreaking 1966 game.

2012 Banner 2012 Banner Prep

In another twist of banner fortune, my brother was finishing up his time in the athletic department last spring and was tasked with helping put together the championship banner for last year’s team. I’ve included a picture of them making the banner before the game took place (notice there’s no “Champion” or “Runner-Up” on it) as well as a picture of them displaying it in Commonwealth, which was featured on KSR the next day (he’s the one of the far right and his girlfriend, a UK cheerleader, is the girl). Needless to say, we’ve had some luck with getting our hands on some important pieces of UK history.”

Think you can do better? Send us a picture of your unique “UK junk” along with the story behind it and we’ll post the best ones on the website. Email pictures to [email protected] with the subject heading “Kentucky Pickers.”

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.

24 Comments for Kentucky Pickers: the original 1996 and 1998 Championship banners

  1. Ridge Runner
    8:13 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    I have assembled some small items but nothing like this or of any historical meaning. Wow, great story.

  2. Ridge Runner
    8:17 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    So, they make the entire banner at UK (athletic dept) once the material comes in or is a part of it shipped there? Sorry…just curious.

  3. Fatty nuts
    8:30 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    This so called “man”, Dustin smith, is a liar and an imposter. He has always been a West Virginia fan, and anyone who has ever met this ass hat an attest to this indisputable fact. A West Virginia dirtbag, plain and simple.

  4. saggy sack
    8:34 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    you will be hard pressed to trump this

  5. lucky pierre
    8:35 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    i’m ADD and i need to be the center of attention

  6. GoCats2
    8:36 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    anyone who can produce Tshirts/jackets(I have both) with the old Wildcat tongue on them also qualify.

  7. Lori
    8:43 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    Hopefully mine makes it on here 😉

  8. Marc
    9:15 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    My parents got the 1975 Runner Up banner and have it hanging in the foyer of their house. They went to the IU Elite Eight game on a date, so that banner had sentimental value. Gross.

  9. Jax Teller
    9:16 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    I remember this. Walked into Nutter and saw the banners laid out. Put a bud in, unfortunately wasn’t lucky enough to win. I’m curious to know how much the winning bid went for though.

  10. Dying to be relevant too
    9:19 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    One time I stayed up way past midnight.

  11. old blue
    9:25 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t let the flag (banner) hit the ground! haha

  12. 50 yard line
    9:27 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    Sometime about 1986 or so…..About 2AM on the night UK had won a game at home, and while tripping on acid my girlfriend and I climbed over the fence at Commonwealth had sex on the 50 yard line. As we were leaving we spotted that Big K flag that the cheerleaders wave leaning against the stands. So, we took that with as we left. I can’t find it. I have looked for 20 years in my folks basement where I thought I stashed it. Just a few months ago this crazy night crossed my mind and I wondered if I had dreamed this up. So I called a friend and asked him if I ever told this story and I hadn’t even hardly begun when he said, “man, I saw the flag later that night. it happened.” I need to find that damn flag.

  13. MrWildcat
    9:33 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    I own the original 51′ championship banner

  14. HighPriest
    10:12 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    Mr. Wildcat

    Tell us about the original 51 Championship Banner. I’m curious to know.

  15. HappyhappyUKfan
    10:14 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve seen all 3 banners with my own eyes, and they’re pretty cool! It’s called a WV fan by birth, a UK fan by choice!

  16. Dustin Smith
    11:16 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    #3 – I’m guessing from the name you used you’re a friend from high school (asshat?). I won’t hide the fact that I’m a huge WVU football fan, but I’m just as big of a UK basketball fan. My parents and I are from West Virginia and I just rooted for the teams they did while I was growing up and that’s what stuck. My brother was born in Kentucky and never really picked up the WVU fanhood. I live in DC now and go to numerous WVU football games a year but also try to always go to the UK game in New York since it’s closer than going home for a game. Don’t really think a person who isn’t a UK fan would go to those lengths to see a game, let alone buy one of the banners.

    #9 – Don’t really want to get into exactly how much the banners ended up costing but I will say that they went for a lot less than I thought they would. My brother lowballed the bid I told him to put in and I thought there was no way we would win any of them. I’m guessing it was due to the fact that the economy had just tanked and it was a blind auction so everyone probably thought they would go for more than they were willing to spend so they just didn’t bid. I do know that the 1978 banner went for the most and it was over twice what the next most expensive one (1996) was.

  17. Blue
    11:38 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    When I was a student at UK, they replaced the floor at Memorial Coliseum, and instead of auctioning off pieces of the court (which I’m sure would have brought in a ton of cash) they simply chucked it in a dumpster right in front of the Coliseum on Avenue of Champions. My roommate and I just happened to drive past, where we saw a few dozen people climbing in the dumpster collecting pieces. We immediately pulled over and joined in, grabbed several pieces each, and my dad fashioned them into frames that now hold both of my degrees from UK. I know several people made coffee tables and stuff like that out of the pieces, but having them as frames for my degrees is pretty awesome, and they make for a great conversation piece.

  18. Dustin Smith
    11:44 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    I actually have a frame made out of those pieces from Memorial too. My brother said they were planning on throwing the banners away too before they decided that they were gonna have the auction and that they could make some money off them. I guess the athletic department just doesn’t place the same level of importance on memorabilia as us fans do.

  19. texasmug
    12:46 am May 2, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone know what fonts are used for the championship banners?

  20. Brandon
    8:58 am May 2, 2013 Permalink

    I have the old denim shoes and the entire denim uniform, unworn and still in the box. I also have many of the old cat with the tongue they had to change. By the way, the wiggity wiggity wack line in the criss cross article nearly made my coffee come through my nose. Priceless! Well done.

  21. Bulldawg
    8:59 am May 2, 2013 Permalink

    Those banners are SWEET!!!!! Much better than my little ones. (that’s what she said). Anyway I submitted a picture of my UK basketball that says UK Blue Devils which I thought was really weird. Not much of a story behind it though, other than I saw it and bought it. I’d say there is not many of them out there… I know it is an abomination but I couldn’t pass it up. GO CATS!!!!

  22. kywildcat_96
    2:47 pm May 2, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve seen those three banners with my own eyes. Pretty cool. I couldn’t believe how BIG those things really are.

  23. MrWildcat
    2:53 pm May 2, 2013 Permalink

    It was the 49 banner, my bad

  24. Bobby Knight's Shrink
    6:03 pm May 2, 2013 Permalink

    What about my UK toilet seat ? SERIOUS !