The 1992-93 season was magicla for us. We had Mashburn, Pricket, Delk, Dent, Ford, Brassow and our favorite………. Gimel Martinez. It was also the first time since we arrived at UK that we had a chance to win a Championship, a legitimate chance….and we never missed a home game. On February 27th, 1993 we played Auburn at Rupp. It was our last chance to show our respect to our favorite player, so we decided to do it up right. My buddy, Steve O’Dea, came up with the idea to go to the game as the Martinez Amigos. We spent the previous day coming up with our tribute outfits — sombreros, fake mustaches, and blankets that we bought on our Spring Break trip to Cancun that we would throw over our shoulders. It was game time, and we were ready to go.
For maximum impact, we decided to get to the game early for the pre-game shoot around. We had a knack for getting lower arena seats, so we knew that we could get Gimel’s attention prior to tip-off. That was an understatement. When we arrived, we were immediately spotted by Dale Borwn & Junior Braddy. Within 5 minutes, the whole team was looking up at us, laughing their asses off and poking fun at Gimel. Gimel looked up at us numerous times and gave us a big smile and fist pump…….we had accomplished our goal!
The only negative to come out of this was the article we saw the next day in the Kentucky Kernel. The author accused the “Martinez Amigos” of being racist….., but we blew it off. Obviously, that was not our intention, but the Kernel needed something to write about that day….That was a great day for us and we will always remember the reaction of the players, and of course, our boy Gimel!
-Dean in Sarasota
In 2004, I was working in Montgomery, Alabama, and was only able to get home for a weekend once every couple of months. During these long periods of being away from home and missing my family, I also really just missed Kentucky — I’m sure everyone who has ever been away from the Bluegrass for any duration knows how that feels.
So, I left work and went back to my apartment to clear my head for a little while and get some lunch (We were working 12-14 hour days 7 days a week, and I hadn’t been home in 2 months at this time and I was just seriously ready to catch a plane). That being said, I’m headed back to work on East Boulevard in Montgomery, and I look up in front of me in the right hand lane and there was a care with a Kentucky License Plate — I can’t remember which county anymore but I think it was Bourbon). It really lit me up inside to see those Kentucky tags, so I whipped around the car in front of me and I eased up on the left of the car from Kentucky, coming to a stop at a red light. I looked over and there were 2 boys, I’d guess 10-12 years old, in the backseat with what I would say was the Dad driving and Mom in the passenger seat.
I should tell you that I always traveled for work, and everywhere I went I always had my Blue UK hat with the Big K on the front. It so happened that it was laying in my passenger seat as I stopped next to this family in their vehicle. While we all waited for the light to turn green, I stared at the car — purposely with a little bit of a stern look. The boys in the back seats had UK hats on, and they noticed me staring and pointed it out to their Dad. Each occupant then — as we do here because we don’t tend to accept rudeness like that as Kentuckians — turns and glares back at me, the Dad shooting me the “what the $#@! Is your problem” eyes. I never changed my facial expression or looked away from them. I just reached over and grabbed that hat with the big Power K on it, and slowly raised it up and showed it to them.
The Mom and Dad busted out laughing and waved at me, and the boys raised their arms in the air and gave me thumbs up as they laughed and cheered. I know this story isn’t anything major, but man, it really warmed my soul just to make a little unspoken connection with somebody from home, and I’ve never forgotten their faces, that moment overall, and how happy it made me when I really missed home. I spent the rest of the day with a smile on my face, and I quit my job and came home for good 3 weeks later.
It’s just one of those “if you’re not from Kentucky, you couldn’t possibly understand” moments that highlighted the rare bond we all share being from here. I am both proud and fortunate to be a Kentuckian.