John Calipari’s always had some swagger, but with his most talented squad ever holding teams like Kansas to 40 points, at times, it feels like Swaggy Cal has completely taken over. How can you spot a Swaggy Cal? Here are ten telltale signs:
1. He talks in his “whiny media voice”
This season, Calipari has a campaign against the “clutter” heaped on his players by the media. Everyone is buzzing about the Cats right now and Cal is distinctly “anti-clutter,” even if he talks about it so often that he creates a lot of it himself. On Sunday night, Calipari mimicked the clutter in his special “whiny media voice”:
“Wait a minute. What about the media? 45 straight. They got to win â€â€ can they beat the 76ers? Let’s take a vote. What?”
Now if he would just complain about transcribing and free food in that voice, he’d totally nail the impersonation.
2. When asked a question, he talks about a completely different topic
Calipari is the master of controlling a conversation. When asked a question, he’ll only really answer it if that’s what he wants to talk about. If not, he’ll change the topic to whatever’s on his mind. On Sunday, a question about Devin Booker’s shot selection quickly morphed into an answer about his players dealing with the pressure and expectations of being a UK basketball player, which Cal called “wearing a hundred-pound coat.” Speaking of…
3. He breaks out the catchphrases
The coat, the tweak, the platoons, reinforcements, tanks on a hill, hum ditty-ditty! Pooping ice cream, fifth-most shots, fourth-most shots, brother’s keeper. If Cal really likes something, he’ll turn it into a catchphrase…
We don't have subs. We have reinforcements. #2platoons1team
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) November 17, 2014
…and then run it into the ground.
4. He talks to fans about autographing basketballs during the postgame show
After he’s done with his postgame press conference, Calipari goes back out on the court to do radio with Tom Leach. In a growing tradition, fans stick around to listen and get autographs from Cal while he’s on the radio, and this season, he’s so swaggy that he’s telling fans what kind of basketballs he’ll sign while on the air.
“Now, guys, I’ll only sign the ones without the pebbles because the pebbles tear up my pen.”
“Walk down. There you go. You were going to hit someone on the head.”
“I love you all, but I’m not signing those pebble balls.”
Captain #TeamNF reporting.
5. He sends out “pump the brakes” tweets to fans
Odds he was doing this when he wrote that?
6. He brings a balloon to his press conference
After his birthday tweet heard round the world, Cal tried to make things right with his daughter, Megan, by bringing a birthday balloon to his press conference Sunday night. The gesture was sweet, but it was also Cal thumbing his nose a bit at the national media for pouncing on an innocent mistake.
“Why does that go all over the world, by the way? The whole world, yeah, but it was like they invited me to Good Morning America to talk about it. What? It is my daughter’s birthday. Man I got platoons and…”
To clarify, “Good Morning America” didn’t really invite him on, but Cal said he would accept if they did, because of course.
7. He does his press conferences in “call and response” style
Ain’t no press conference like a Calipari press conference. What other coach flips the script and makes reporters answer questions? Swaggy Cal dangles statements and stats out there for reporters to finish, and if they don’t, he chastises them for not being “basketball Bennies.” You know Cal’s REALLY feeling great when he spars with Jerry Tipton.
8. He calls himself the magician
Cal, or rather “John in Kentucky,” famously called into the Mike Francesa show this summer to defend himself when Francesa said he’s not a great X’s and O’s coach. “Are you saying I can’t coach? Why didn’t you say that while I was sitting next to you? You said ‘he’s not great at X’s and O’s.’ That’s basically saying I can’t coach. You know what they call me? A magician. ‘Cal the magician.’”
Definitely not “The humble magician.”
9. He pauses after statements and gives everyone “that look”
Yeah, that’s the one.
10. He calls out his enemies
We all remember Pat Forde’s article after the loss to South Carolina telling Calipari to lie in the bed he made. Turns out that bed was pretty comfortable; however, with expectations ratcheting up and the media just waiting for the platoon system to fail, Cal couldn’t help but get in another shot at Forde:
“You’ve got people right now on radio silence because there’s not enough to write that story. The problem is they’ve written those stories and gotten burned because we turned it around and they look like fools, so there’s radio silence right now because they’re not going to do it yet.”
Swaggy Calipari never forgets.