Since his playing days at UK in the mid-70’s, Kentucky All-American Jack “Goose” Givens is appreciative of all the support and love he has continually received from Wildcat fans. In fact, the same could be said for many other former UK men’s basketball stars — all remain very popular, and are grateful to talk with fans if not sign memorabilia for them.
The problem is, no comprehensive artistic memorabilia tribute to UK’s legendary stars has been properly formulated and done in the right way, and with the player’s permission — until now.
Announcing the “Wildcat Legends” Fine Art Series, which Givens hopes the BBN will feel IS that proper tribute to honor their living stars of the past.
Set to begin next week, featured “Legends” include Mike Pratt, Cotton Nash, Dan Issel, Kevin Grevey, Kyle Macy and Tony Delk. (More will be announced at a later date.) The “Legends” schedule calls for 3 to 4 art releases of these stars each basketball season for the next few years, each approximately 1 month apart during the season.
“We hope this Series properly reflects the rich history and tradition of Kentucky Basketball,” said Givens, who was instrumental in bringing the project together, “and we further hope it properly honors those elite players like Nash, Issel and Pratt who helped make UK the greatest program in college basketball.”
“Wildcat Legends” will be a series of fine art prints from individual player paintings, highlighting living stars from the 60’s through the 90’s, and features a compilation of action poses of the star during his time on the court (see attached photo of the Pratt art).
The series will be created by native Kentuckian and national sports artist, David Bryan Blondell. Over the past 2 years Blondell has completed beautiful, commissioned artwork for Coach Calipari and his 2012 championship team, and for Coach Hall and the 1978 title squad; fans may have seen both on display at games in Rupp last season.
Reasonably-priced commemorative prints and posters will be produced for each player’s art. Each reproduction will be from an original painting by Blondell, and will be colorful, photo-realistic compositions that seek to capture the player’s likeness and spirit. 50 large, high-quality Limited Edition fine art prints will be numbered and signed by the featured player at his art’s unveiling ceremony, held before a game in Rupp Arena. (Smaller posters of the art will also be available for signing at the event.)
Excited and pleased with the number of great players who have agreed to be featured, the artist also insisted that Givens be included as well. “Jack’s far too modest to presume he should be part of this,” Blondell said, “and I told him that I’m honored to create the Series, but only if he were also featured. No such tribute would be complete without the Goose.”
The first Wildcat honored will be former All-American and current UK radio personality, Mike Pratt. His ‘Art Release Ceremony’ is scheduled in the Rupp mall foodcourt from 4:30 — 6:30 before the Texas game next Friday, December 5th, and Mike will be on hand to autograph his art prints for all fans until 30 minutes before the 7:00 pm tip-off. “I’m thrilled to have been asked to be a part of this,” Pratt said, “and it’s even a greater honor to be the one to lead it off.”
First team All-American Kevin Grevey agreed. “I am excited and honored to be a member of the ‘Wildcat Legends’ Fine Art Series,” Grevey said. “Having seen and enjoyed much of David’s previous artwork, I’m sure these prints will be coveted by our incredible fan base that makes Kentucky basketball so special.”
Co-produced by “Your Frame of Mind Galleries” in Lexington, get additional details and upcoming release dates on their website, www.YourFrameOfMind.biz, or on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/yourframeofmind.
(You can also follow the day-to-day progress of each player’s painting from start-to-finish as Blondell creates it. To do so, follow him on Twitter: @BlondellArt or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/blondellart)
“I hope this elite tribute Series will be something all UK fans can be proud of,” Givens concluded.