This morning, former President Bill Clinton was the second guest on John Calipari’s “Coffee with Cal” Facebook Live series. No matter your political affiliation, there was something for everyone in the hour-long conversation, which covered topics ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to, of course, basketball. Here are some highlights:
Clinton joked his grandson is going to be “Kentucky’s Zion Williamson”
Chelsea Clinton gave birth to her third child, Jasper, in July 2019. The entire Clinton family is quarantining together in Arkansas, so Calipari asked about his “new recruit,” who apparently already has a scholarship offer.
“Eight months old and I think he’s going to be Kentucky’s Zion Williamson because he’s already the size of the average two-year-old,” President Clinton said. “He’s in his three-year-old brother’s clothes.”
Does this mean Calipari will be here in 2037?
Calipari made Clinton pose with the game ball from UMass’ win over Arkansas in 1994
The two swapped a lot of old memories, including the time Clinton visited Calipari’s office and Cal made him pose with the game ball from UMass’ win over defending national champion Arkansas in 1994.
“Come on, John. Tell the viewers the truth. The first time I went to see you in your office in Kentucky, you have a whole wall filled with basketballs of memorable victories and –”
“I made you hold that ball!” Cal exclaimed.
“UMass’ thumping of Arkansas was prominent on the wall. You took the ball off the wall and made me pose for a picture.”
He believes Calipari would be a good president
Are politics in Calipari’s future? If so, he’s got Clinton’s endorsement. While brainstorming which college coaches would make good presidents and vice versa, Calipari’s name was the first Clinton mentioned.
“Calipari would be a good president,” Clinton said. “I think Obama would be a good basketball coach because like me he’s obsessed with the game and he’s younger than I am and plays better. I think that either of the two Roosevelts would be good basketball coaches. I think that it’s possible that Harry Truman could be another John Wooden.”
“We’ve got to stop demonizing people”
The interview was very light on politics, but Calipari and Clinton did talk about the sharp divide in the nation these days, and why it’s more important than ever for people to put their differences aside for the common good. Clinton recalled how he often spoke to other presidents during their terms, notably George W. Bush.
“We’ve got to stop demonizing people,” Clinton said. “You can have differences, they should be argued, they can determine elections, but it doesn’t make you a bad person if you disagree with somebody else. Right now, the thing that bothers me is everything goes from an issue difference to a personal attack.”
You listening, comments section?
They talked about “The Last Dance” and the Bulls
If you watched “The Last Dance” last night, you saw President Clinton in episode two discussing Arkansas native Scottie Pippen’s career. Cal and Clinton talked about the series briefly, with Clinton telling the story of the 1996 Bulls coming to the White House to celebrate their championship.
Clinton watched the 2012 national title game four times
After Kentucky won the title in 2012, President Clinton visited the team in Lexington. Apparently, he was so fascinated by Anthony Davis and the 2012 team that he watched the national championship game four times.
“I kept trying to figure out how you won the national championship with Anthony Davis scoring two points?” Clinton said. “But he had six blocked shots…I watched those six blocks. Anthony Davis was the first basketball player I ever saw who blocked shots laterally. His arms were so long and he’s so fast he literally could block shots without reaching his hand above his head. It’s the strangest thing I ever saw.”
This quote about Kobe Bryant’s death is timely
Towards the end of the interview, Calipari and Clinton talked about the passing of Kobe Bryant. Clinton recalled being with Kobe five years ago in Los Angeles for the dedication of an apartment building for homeless people and people with mental problems that Kobe funded. He said Kobe asked him which books he should read because he wanted to grow as a leader and citizen.
“I thought that his next act was going to be every bit as great as his basketball career,” Clinton said. “[His death] was devastating. When something like that happens, the only way you can redeem the loss is by living. If you maximize your potential in life, your ability to do good, your ability to be good, it’s fundamentally the only way you can honor an otherwise inexplicable loss.”
Great words to keep in mind during these trying times. You can watch the entire conversation below.
Join John Calipari and his guest, President Bill Clinton, for Coffee With Cal!
Posted by John Calipari FBE on Monday, April 20, 2020