Since 1987, the video montage known as “One Shining Moment” has captivated audiences. In the 31 years since it first aired, the clip has become a tradition in college basketball, and the end of March Madness wouldn’t be complete without it. Originally inspired by a then-Boston Celtic Larry Bird and initially set to air after Super Bowl XXI, “One Shining Moment” is a staple in the eyes of players, coaches and fans across the nation. After Matt and the gang discussed the tradition on this morning’s show, I fell into the trap and ended up decades away. Although I spent much of my afternoon watching clips of other teams, it seems appropriate to only share the ones from some of the best years in UK basketball history: years in which the Cats claimed the national title.
Featuring Tony Delk and that iconic hug between Antoine Walker and Anthony Epps, the ’96 montage will take you on a trip down memory lane. If nothing else, it’s fascinating to see how poor the video quality was even in the late ’90s and to see just how young Rick Pitino used to be.
Another good year for the Cats. By the end of the decade, video quality had definitely improved, so this video is a little easier to watch than the one from ’96. However, I do think it’s a little strange first-year coach Tubby Smith never even appears in the video.
This one has to be my personal favorite, but that might be my age talking. Since I wasn’t born for the ’96 game and therefore obviously don’t remember the ’98 victory, 2012 is the only national championship I have. There’s a special place in my heart for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and The Brow, both of whom are heavily featured in this season’s version of “One Shining Moment.” In addition to winning the title, beating Louisville in the Final Four and Lehigh upsetting Duke also made this a memorable March. “The Kentucky coronation is complete,” as the video says, or, in the words of Tom Leach, “The national championship trophy is coming home to Kentucky.”
Alright, to be fair, we didn’t win in 2014. But this is still one of my favorite installments of “One Shining Moment,” plus it’s always fun to go back and relive those clutch Aaron Harrison three-pointers. Maybe just turn the clip off a few seconds early, because we all know how it ends.
Which one is your favorite?