I have to admit that I first I smelled disaster. When I came home from work last night and found out that Tubby Smith was going to be on the Best Damn Sports Show, I admit that I was worried about what would happen. I mean this show (which usually sucks by the way) is known for its supposed playful irreverance and it tries to bring the personality out of its guests by playing and joking around. Most of the topics involve ad-libbing and there is generally a care-free image that is quite different than what Tubby Smith usually portrays in public.
Add to that the setting, and it seemed even more bizarre. This was a special “Best Damn Sports Show on tour” show that was going to be live from the Hooters Casino in Las Vegas. Yes you read that correctly, the Hooters Casino. Then it got even more freaky when I found out that notorious hard partier and general social misfit, the great Artie Lange from the Howard Stern show was going to be the other guest. Plus, there was to be a special montage of scenes from the International Hooters Bikini Pageant. So take that all in…..Best Damn Sports Show, Hooters Casino, Artie Lange and a bikini pageant….not exactly where you would expect to see Tubby Smith.
And yet, Tubby Smith ended up giving one of his best national television appearances of his time at Kentucky. He was very light-hearted and playful and vibed well with the hosts. He payed particular attention to John Salley and Jalen Rose, admitting that he had recruited both players during his coaching career. He made a joke at Rob Dibble’s expense about his wild pitching arm and seemed as at ease with himself as I have seen in the media. Here were some highlights:
(1) Showing that some in the media dont read Kentucky message boards (shocking!), Tubby was introduced by host Chris Rose as “the toast of the town in Lexington.” And Tubby handled all Kentucky related questions well. He repeatedly called UK fans “the best in the world” and mentioned that there was no better place to be a coach. He did make an odd statement when given a hard time by John Salley about looking at the bikini-clad girls around him as Salley said, “you better be careful, you are going to get fired man….” and Tubby said, “I hope so….” However I think that was just a case where the question and the answer didnt fit as Tubby thought he was saying something else. All in all, Tubby was VERY complimentary of the fans of the Cats.
(2) The hosts on the show gave a lot of props to the Tubster. John Salley called him “one of my favorite coaches” and Jalen Rose was overflowing with compliments remarking, “I got a lot of respect for this man. He reminds me of my high school coach. I really look up to him.”
(3) The opening montage was interesting, as the camera showed Tubby standing at a small basketball goal, rebounding as two bikini-clad Hooters Girls shot baskets and giggled. Tubby had a “what are you gonna do?” look on his face and smiled like a little kid.
(4) When asked, as always by the national media, about the NBA, Tubby gave one of his strongest “no” answers I have heard. While saying being talked about by the NBA was an honor he said, “I have spent most of my life in college basketball and it is the only place I want to be.”
(5) Finally, Tubby took a good ribbing about being voted the “Sexiest Male Figure in Kentucky” (when did that happen?). John Salley came back with “thats only because you have all 32 teeth” which got a laugh…but Tubby quickly said he didnt know what people were thinking when they gave it to him, but he loved the state. A very diplomatic answer from the Tubbinator.
Overall it was a great appearance for Tubby who looked comfortable in a setting (surrounded by scores of GORGEOUS women) that may not have been his usual taste. He mentioned how well Kentucky alumni have done, citing Walker, Anderson, Riley, Mohammad and Prince and as opposed to John Calipari (who looked creepy while “judging” a game of water chicken between Hooters girls), he looked laid back, but not a huge reveler in the Hooters scene.
The Best Damn Sports Show does really suck. However I actually enjoyed this one watching Artie Lange be ridiculous and Tubby give a good presentation of himself. I will likely not watch it again for quite some time, but if this is part of the new “Tubby Media Tour”, I think it was quite a good start.