Over the weekend, rapper Drake tweeted out a picture of his Kentucky National Championship ring, which caused a bit of a brouhaha in the Big Blue Nation. Some of you thought Drake didn’t deserve such an honor, while others seemed to tap into what Cal was likely thinking: Drake is cool, and if recruits see him wearing the ring, they’ll think Kentucky is cool too.
Proving that he’s always got one ear to the ground, Calipari took to Twitter to explain the gift this morning: “One of the greatest things about winning a national championship is it gives me the opportunity to show my appreciation. Whether it was providing a ring to a family member or friend, sending gear to longtime supporters, or taking trophy pics with our fans, I’m grateful to be able to show my appreciation to my friends and followers in whatever way I can.”
In his time at Kentucky, Cal has transformed the UK “brand” from a traditional basketball power that had faded over time to the ultimate elite in the sport, in terms of talent, success, and popularity. Never before has Kentucky been so hip, with rappers dropping the school’s name in songs and top recruits literally begging for offers. Cal has put together a group of Kentucky “ambassadors” that promote the brand in pop culture by coming to games, sporting the team’s gear, and generally giving Kentucky that “cool factor” popular with the prize demographic: teenage basketball players. It’s just another way Cal’s staying ahead of the curve when it comes to recruiting. Coach K may have a stretch limo, but hey, did you see that Drake’s got a National Championship ring?
Matt and Ryan addressed the topic on the radio show this morning, taking suggestions for other celebrities or figures associated with the program who deserve a ring. Here’s what they came up with:
— Josh Hopkins
— Steve Zahn (a huge supporter of the football team, apparently)
— Oscar Combs
— Ashley Judd
— LeBron James