Rick Pitino’s new book of lies, “Pitino: My Story,” hit bookshelves Tuesday morning with a promise to lay all of the cards on the table.
And by 8:15 in the a.m., I had already read it from cover to cover.
If I could go back in time, though, I wouldn’t bother opening it. It was a huge of waste of my invaluable time when I could’ve been doing better things like not reading a book by Rick Pitino. The laying of the cards on the table never happened, although I didn’t expect it would. The stories were boring and it ended with an incoherent rant of innocence and injustice — you know the one.
I highly recommend saving your $24.99 for something else, anything else; I’ll tell you all you need to know in these notes:
— Pitino doesn’t go into much detail about his career before the scandal. Chapters 1-6 of the book are a very general and broad biography of his coaching career with very little new or exciting stories. If you must read the book, you can skip those chapters. I’ll give you the few good parts.
— Hidden in Chapter 4, “Camelot,” about Pitino’s time at Kentucky, we learn Jamal Mashburn and Gimel Martinez once snuck off to a strip club with a team manager, Vinnie Tatum, who is now one of Pitino’s best friends. Back then the strip club they visited was called Pure Gold, but some of you may know it as Spearmint Rhino today.
“I went ballistic over two players visiting a strip club, but the public never found out about the sequence of events or my vigilance once I learned what had happened. Years later, as we’ll see, I was falsely accused of knowing that strippers were visiting my players in a dormitory and not doing anything about it. Oh, the irony.”
— Pitino said he had some trouble recruiting at Kentucky because Adolph Rupp and the school’s reluctance to integrate still “cast an ugly shadow on the school.” He claims parents of some recruits were “dead set against their sons playing in Rupp Arena.”
— There are a ton of typos in the book. We here at Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com are in no position to comment on another writer’s typos, but my goodness there are a lot of simple and avoidable mistakes. For a book that is going to be under a spotlight and likely among the best sellers, could they not find someone to proofread it? It’s bad. At one point he writes about the NCCA.
— There is an entire chapter about how shoe companies got into endorsing athletes and how they’re ruining college basketball recruiting. If you ever wanted to know the history of Converse or Puma, Chapter 9 is for you.
— He compares his current situation to that of Axe Capital in the hit Showtime series Billions. In fact, “Billions” is the title of Chapter 11.
“Since September 26, 2017, when the biggest college basketball recruiting scandal in history broke, I’ve been living a real-life nightmare with the real-life Southern District of New York office. It is the opposite of fun. It’s been terrifying, painful, and utterly frustrating. I’ve come to feel like I’ve been sucked into a Billions knock-off, one that isn’t about insider trading or stopping individuals from amassing huge amounts of money. Instead, it’s less a crime drama than an absurdist series about government investigators working with scam artists.”
I like Billions, and you, Rick Pitino, are no Bobby Axelrod.
— There is nothing new in his account of the Katina Powell and Brian Bowen situations. He, of course, maintains his innocence and points his finger to criminal mastermind Andre McGee and rogue assistant Jordan Fair for any and all wrongdoings. If you were hoping for the slightest admission of guilt or a smoking gun to prove his innocence, you’ll be very disappointed. He doesn’t say anything he hasn’t already said publicly a million times. Sorry.
— He insists Katina Powell’s strip parties did not help Luke Hancock score 22 points in the NCAA championship, therefore the banner should stay.
— My favorite part of the entire book: he says he hired one of his lawyers per a recommendation from Armando Christian Pérez, a close friend in Miami. Armando Christian Pérez is better known as the rapper Pitbull, which is hilarious, and explains why Pitbull tweeted his support when the book was released:
#RickPitino congrats on the new book. Like most great people, society tries to find ways to knock them down but those who stay strong become legends. Rick, you’re a living legend. God bless, keep up the great work, it's just the beginning of a new chapter in life, Dale! pic.twitter.com/Rql4M56cCF
— Pitbull (@pitbull) September 4, 2018
I love that he took legal advice from Mr. 305.
— Finally, in “Chapter 12: The Unusual Suspects,” Pitino gets to what he really wanted to say in the book. He got through all of the filler in the first eleven chapters and then it’s time to point the finger at the guilty party behind his demise: Matt Bevin.
Pitino genuinely believes Kentucky’s governor, who he compares to Donald Trump, set out to bring him down, as well as Tom Jurich, because they were both doing so well at Louisville and it was bad for the state. And in one of his three theories, he suggests it was driven by jealousy from the University of Kentucky:
“A second theory I have heard is that this was a conspiracy by Bevin and his associates to get rid of one of the most powerful A.D.s in the country. According to this theory, Bevin’s University of Kentucky–loving associates were driven by jealousy of a rival program becoming too successful and popular, and urged the governor to act—and send a silent message to Wildcat supporters across the commonwealth. Given the history of bad blood between the programs and the electoral pull of the Wildcat nation, this theory doesn’t really seem completely far-fetched. As the former Louisville athlete with connections to Frankfort told me: “The way you become senator is you win the statewide vote. The city of Louisville doesn’t matter. So Bevin is focusing on winning the state.” He also speculated that ardent Bevin-backer John Schnatter, who gave the maximum $2,000 donation to the governor’s campaign, had pushed the governor to take aim at Louisville and thereby align himself with the Big Blue Nation of Wildcats lovers and consolidate his voter base.
“And to do that you cut the head off the snake, which is Tom Jurich and you,” added my friend.”
Wow. That entire chapter is a riot.
— As expected, Papa John Schnatter also gets the blame for Louisville’s demise. “He’s made millions selling pizza,” Pitino writes. “Other than that, I believe you’d be hard-pressed to find any other noble qualities with a search warrant.”
Man, he really hates that guy.
— In the final chapter, he gives six steps “to turn the tide against misfortune.” The first is laughter; another is “take ownership of your dilemma” — and I couldn’t stop laughing at him encouraging others to take ownership of their dilemma.
— The book concludes with a story of cruising the Miami waters in his boat while thinking back on all of the positive memories from his coaching career. He looks back on Billy Donovan in the 1987 NCAA tournament as he sails under a bridge, he thinks of Francisco Garcia as he enters the Ft. Lauderdale channel, Terry Rozier as he stops for lunch, and so on. The boat ride reads as a farewell excursion as he admits his coaching career is likely over when he returns to the dock. The end.
Book Rating: 3/10 (Do not recommend)
Super-Brief Synopsis: He’s completely innocent. Only Andre McGee knows the truth and he’ll never talk because there is no statute of limitations. Boo hoo. Matt Bevin and Papa John did this. It’s all Matt Bevin and Papa John’s fault that he and Tom Jurich aren’t at Louisville. He owns a boat in Miami.
The KSR Book Club will return next week with a review of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain.