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Patrick Sparks: Statesman


In a state steeped in historic duels and family feuds Kentuckians are naturally predisposed for domestic disorder. The modern day affirmation of our civil aversion is of course disguised as a basketball game—the Battle of Bluegrass. It’s a game that has a way of turning sound, rational people into rabid animals; of turning boys into heroes. Or kings.

A hero was made in December 2004, when a kid from Central City with the church league physique and dipper’s grin stepped to the line for three free-throws with the battle still knotted and the time all but out.




Game, Kentucky.


A hero was born in March of 1983, the same year the Battle of the Bluegrass officially commenced. You might call it a coincidence and you’d be wrong. You could call it destiny, which would be correct, so let’s call it destiny, ok? Who could have imagined this six-foot nothin’ gunner from the Western Kentucky Coalfield would one day toe the line of immortality in Freedom Hall with the fate of a nation in his hands?


At times Patrick Sparks was simply a capable ball handler, reliable free throw shooter, defensive liability (especially in his Bud Heavy Senior season) with a five inch vertical and a streaky three point stroke. A career 10 point, 4 assist, 1 steal per game kind of guy. Then he’d heat up, dish out a few no look dimes, and carve up a defense with craftsman-like guile and flair and instantly became must-watch TV. You knew Sparksy was feelin’ it when he wouldn’t even follow through on his shots. Just sorta flick that thing up there and start running back down the court. He was Marshall Henderson without the histrionics and rap sheet.

Through the centuries thousands of young men have been selected to wear the Kentucky jersey. The majority put in their sweat and hung their jerseys up when the eligibility ran out, carrying on with their lives but still holding the ultimate Kentucky trump card in their pockets. Few more would actually carve out decorated basketball careers, stitch their names in the lore, maybe even go on to play professionally. Then there are the few that leave as heroes, destined for the life of a Statesman. Only one would call Billy Packer a mother f-er to his face on live TV. Patrick Sparks is all of them.

Article written by John Dubya

The Twitter: @Johnawilk

15 Comments for Patrick Sparks: Statesman

  1. Pathetic
    8:33 pm December 19, 2013 Permalink

    12/19 podcast??

  2. Sad podcast listener
    8:43 pm December 19, 2013 Permalink

    Where is today’s podcast?

  3. Bunny
    8:45 pm December 19, 2013 Permalink

    Patrick was true blue…

  4. What
    9:00 pm December 19, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t get the article

  5. Huh?
    9:06 pm December 19, 2013 Permalink

    What is this article about?

  6. Bryan
    9:10 pm December 19, 2013 Permalink

    I read the site every day and listen to the podcast as well but no one has ever had a good depiction of Pat. I played high school ball with him at Muhlenberg North and he is everything but what KSR writers describes him as. He isn’t just some redneck by any means and he is a better ball player than given credit for. As a matter of fact he is still playing professional basketball! He once scored 45 in a half against a good Owensboro Apollo team (second in state history if it’s still holding) and 71 for the game. He was streaky was and still is a great ball player.

  7. bluegrass79
    9:42 pm December 19, 2013 Permalink

    Patrick Sparks is a Kentucky legend! I’d take him on my team any day. When he was ”on”… out! He could throw alley oops from anywhere too. Fun times when he was a wildcat.

  8. Truth
    12:32 am December 20, 2013 Permalink

    You’ll never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever see a player like this under Cal. Ever. You won’t see a Padgett, Pelphrey, Hanson, Feldhouse, Farmer, Brasso, Ford, Perry, Pope. You won’t even see a Jeff Sheppard, who is why we won in 1998. These non-NBA players won’t even register on his radar. They’ll sit the bench for some over-rated freshman. Even Chapman is the wrong color to get minutes on his teams.

  9. ad resides in VA
    8:29 am December 20, 2013 Permalink

    I own 2 kentucky jerseys: Walter McCarty’s #40 denim in a youth medium and Patrick Sparks #22 in an adult XL.

    • cw resides in ky
      8:40 am December 20, 2013 Permalink

      XL – I think that’s the same size he wore his senior year. bazinga!

  10. theWilkman
    10:14 am December 20, 2013 Permalink

    Not enough Sparks these days. I always love to watch Kentucky boys don the blue and white, living vicariously through them.

    Truth is just being his typical troll self. Hood, Hawkins, Willis, Polson… nah we’ll never see non-NBA, KY-bred players

  11. Biglaw Dawgin'
    11:22 am December 20, 2013 Permalink

    I watched the video, but didn’t see him call Packer an MF-er. Anyone else know what he’s talking about?

  12. Big Cat Williams
    3:25 pm December 20, 2013 Permalink

    How many UK cult-legend players beat UK at another Kentucky school before becoming a ‘cat. Pat was so much fun.

  13. Michael Gibson
    2:35 pm December 21, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t think he called billy packer a mother f***** in this game I think he called him that when he hit the three point shot to tie the game in over time again Michigan State at the buzzer to send the game to double over time it was awesome. Pat was great I still have at least 75% of his games on tape. He had heart and the will to win. I have one uk jersey and its #22 patrick sparks