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Calipari sent a jersey and a scholarship offer to family of slain Memphis teen

Taylon Vail’s life was cut short when he was struck by stray bullets from a drive-by shooting in West Memphis this past April. Vail, a 16-year-old with a promising future in basketball, was asleep on his grandmother’s couch when he was killed.

Vail’s family is having a hard time coping with the loss of such a young life, especially Taylon’s mother, Tabatha Vail; but John Calipari was able to put a smile on her face with a recent act of kindness.

In a new story in The Memphis Commercial Appeal, we learn Calipari shipped a custom UK basketball jersey with Vail’s name across the back, in addition to an official scholarship offer to the University of Kentucky, Vail’s dream school.

From the story:

“When I opened it up – oh my goodness – I was bawling crying,” Vail said. “I was so excited.”

Inside was a custom, blue Kentucky jersey marked with her son’s last name and his favorite number. On the front, it was signed by Wildcats coach John Calipari.

Accompanying the gear was a letter and an official scholarship offer, intended to fulfill a dream that was tragically stopped short his freshman year of high school.

It was a moment that had been in the works for several weeks, spearheaded by Brown-McCormick, who initially emailed the university and kept the gifts a secret until Mother’s Day.

Taylon Vail always wanted to play college basketball, and his hope was to attend Kentucky just like fellow Arkansas prospect Malik Monk.

Calipari was able to fulfill the young kid’s dream, to which Vail’s mother said, “It’s sad that it had to come true in this way, but just to know that he’s still loved, and that John Calipari took the time to sign the jersey and offer him a full-ride – based on a story – that is the most amazing thing ever.”

Read the entire story here and be proud of your favorite basketball coach.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

12 Comments for Calipari sent a jersey and a scholarship offer to family of slain Memphis teen



  1. 4everUKblue
    9:18 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

    This is one more thing I love about Cal, no other coach I want at UK.



    • chrislarkey
      10:56 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

      ^^^^^
      Agree and very classy move by Coach Cal. Anything to help the family feel better is worth it. And this is something Coach Cal did not have to do, it just shows how much class he has.



  2. StillBP
    9:23 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

    Weird, I’ve been told Cal only cares about NBA draft night. You’re telling me he cares about other people too?



    • Iamheasyouarehe
      9:28 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

      I wish I could like this comment, they need to bring back the like button.



    • StillBP
      9:36 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

      Me too Iam. I’m having some weird things happen on this site lately. When I’m on my work desktop, there is no longer a link to get to older articles at the bottom of the page, but the link is there on my phone. Also, when I type a comment on my work computer and hit ‘post comment’, the comment doesn’t post and disappears. I can only comment from my phone.



    • Iamheasyouarehe
      12:06 pm May 28, 2019 Permalink

      Same here BP, there is not link to older articles on my laptop but I can type a keyword in the search and find it sometimes. I wish KSR would fix all this, I almost always agree with your comments so just assume I liked it even though there is no button.



  3. Bruce Dickinson
    9:33 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

    Cal is a class act!



  4. runningunnin.454
    9:44 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

    Alright, who’s cutting the onions?
    Such a tragic story; and, it happens too damn much today in our country; but, anyone that wants another coach is just…well, I have no word for them.



  5. nocode96
    10:51 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

    This is why I love our coach and this program. Take all the vitriol and crap about spewed about his coaching ability by a few morons around here out of the equation. This is awesome. It can not bring back that mother’s little boy (yeah, he was 16, but I know enough mothers to know that he was still her little boy), but it brought a moment of happiness in peace into her, and the family’s life.



  6. RJH
    11:07 am May 28, 2019 Permalink

    Be inspired. If you love this story, go out and try to spread kindness. Be like Cal!



  7. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    1:49 pm May 28, 2019 Permalink

    Mashburn fan will say this is how Cal recruits illegally.