Along with the “Mony Mony” dancing guy and the Cat pyramid, one of the best gameday traditions in Kentucky basketball is the celebrity “Y” at the end of the cheerleaders’ spelling of Kentucky. Usually, the “Y” is whichever famous former player or coach is in attendance (I’m looking at you, Joe B. Hall), but occasionally, we get to see a celebrity raise their arms to the rafters.
Since the season is just starting and Kentucky basketball seems to be more popular than ever, we are now officially on “Y” Watch. Here’s a preview of which celebrities might be “doing the Y” this season.
Odds: 3-1 (depending on UK’s appeal)
Don’t get me wrong, the only thing I want to see Enes Kanter do in Rupp Arena this season is play. But, if UK’s appeal of the NCAA ruling doesn’t work (and I’m not about to prognosticate those odds), then Kentucky simply cannot deny Enes the honor of throwing up the Y for the fans. As we all know, waiting for the NCAA’s decision these last few months forged an unbelievable bond between fans and Enes. Giving him the spotlight should be a given.
When it comes to Kentucky basketball, this southern girl has ruled the famous fan roost for years. Ashley has faithfully attended games since the mid-90’s and even struck a sultry pose in a UK Hockey jersey for the team’s poster one season (how many of you guys still have that hanging up in the house?). I heart Ashley for many reasons (like the time she refused to wear a UNC coat on a movie set), but seeing her in the crowd for at least one Kentucky game a season is pretty standard these days, especially since Calipari took the reins. Plus, who’s going to tell Ashley no?
Now, if Eddie had his way, his odds would be 1-1, but at some point the powers that be have to say no. A staple at any UK sporting event, Eddie is one Cats lovin’ Kentuckian. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big country music fan (and yes, I do realize that makes me a tiny bit hypocritical, living in Nashville and all), but even the most emo would admit that Eddie wears his Big Blue pride on his sleeve. So yes, at some point during the season, expect to see Eddie doing the Y in his weird jester/dreadlock hat. And yes, I realize I probably broke about a thousand native Danvillian rules by putting him behind Enes and Ashley, but for what it’s worth, I hear his steakhouse is really nice.
When Calipari came to town, he brought a new attitude to Kentucky basketball–young, hip, and cool. With this new swagger came several cool new fans, like Drake, Lil’ Wayne’s Canadian rapping prodigy. I will admit that when Drake came to Big Blue Madness last year, I had no idea who he was. But, like the trendy 26-year-old I am, I quickly learned and could maybe even call myself a fan (as a woman, I’m trying to look past the gratuitous T&A bouncefest that is the “Best I Ever Had” video). Drake seems like a genuine fan, taking time out of his tour schedule to see the Cats play four times last season. And although it seems he was pretty tight with last year’s team, Drake says he will still try to find time to come watch the Cats play this season. If anything, I hope he is the Y at some point just so I can see the looks on the blue hairs’ faces if they play one of his songs.
In one of those “25 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” features in US Weekly (I’m pathetic, I subscribe), “hunky” Josh Hopkins confessed that if he were a high school All-American, he would play basketball for Coach Cal at UK. To Kentucky fans, Hopkins is most famous for bringing the John Wall dance to primetime during an episode of his sitcom, “Cougar Town.” The Lexington native is such a diehard Cat fan that he even shared some pickup game observations with our very own KSR in August. Now, normally I would put someone with Josh’s passion and good looks at the top of the list of Y candidates, but I’m sure he’s got his hands full entertaining Courtney Cox in L.A….you know, on their sitcom.
Ah, the darkhouse of the group. To me, Steve Zahn is one of those actors whom you recognize, but can’t really remember from where. I remember Zahn as the wacky guy who ran off with the blonde girl in That Thing You Do! I also sort of remember him from “Friends”…I’m guessing he had something to do with Phoebe because, again, he always seems to play a wacky character. Anyhow, Steve loves the Cats and was spotted at a Kentucky game during the tournament last year. Little did I know he is married to J. Peterman’s daughter and owns a horse farm in Georgetown, KY. So when Zahn’s not filming or fly-fishing (which he apparently loves to do…look who’s using the Wikipedia!), maybe he’ll throw up the Y for us at Rupp.
We all remember the spectacle that was LeBron doing the Y last season. Dressed in a preptastic blue and gray sweater, James stretched his long arms in the air in what may be the most exciting Y to ever happen outside of Sesame Street. But, LeBron is pretty busy these days down in Miami, and the impact of his Y from last season will last for years to come. While I’m not ruling out a visit from The King, but I think we have a better chance next season. Prove me wrong, LeBron!
So, who do you think will be the most exciting “Y” this season?