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Letter to Herald-Leader Editor: “Coach sells out players”

A concerned fan of the Kentucky basketball program wrote in to the Herald-Leader this week to express her concerns about John Calipari and his “pimping” of Kentucky basketball.

The Letter to the Editor submission says it’s a bad message for Calipari to push his players to go for the money, but the young men should not be faulted for wanting to make money, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The way I see it, if the players want to make money in the pros, what’s so bad about pushing them to make money in the pros? Seems to me everyone is on the same page there, no?

Anyway, here’s the letter:

I was comforted by the April 21 letter from the Memphis grad. I feel so alone for not being a fan of University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari. I never liked his “marketing mouth,” but gave him a chance until I watched him morph into the king of one and done. He couldn’t do it at universities of Massachusetts or Memphis. He needed UK to achieve his goal. He has pimped Kentucky basketball.

I picture him standing on a street corner when a limousine pulls up, and a bald-headed guy rolls down the window and says: “Whatta you got for me?”

“I have five more good ones,” Cal says.

“They’re not gonna want to stay in school are they?” the guy asks.

“Nah,” Cal says, “I told them they’ve already won the lottery. If they want a degree, they can go online and get one from the University of Phoenix.”

I do not fault the talented young men who love basketball and want to play in the pros and make money. Nor would I fault Calipari for supporting them if they had made a decision to go. But, in ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary, I learned that he pushes them to go for the money. I think that is a very bad values message from the king coach. [The Herald-Leader]

In related news, people still write letters to the editor? What is this, 1997?

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

44 Comments for Letter to Herald-Leader Editor: “Coach sells out players”

  1. kentuckyrld
    3:17 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    That email was obviously written by someone on the hl staff. It is very sadthat the hometown paper wants so badly to tear down UK basketball. We should all boycott their advertisers. Time to put them out of business.

    • ClutchCargo
      3:45 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      My first thought exactly. It’s actually very similar in tone to a lot of Tipturd’s stuff.

    • Luether
      7:11 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      You must be a Democrat…

  2. Sentient Third Eye
    3:20 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Coal Cal is helping kids prepare for their chosen profession. The only difference between him and what the UK Med School does is Cal’s program takes much less time and his kids earn far more money.

    • JASUN74
      4:50 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Great point. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how it’s not obvious. The ONLY reason anyone goes to college after high school, is to get a better job so u can make more money. Most of these kids will not be superstars, ‘a few will’ but a very, very high % of them will be multi millionaires by the time they’re 21-25 years old and have a lifetime scholarship at the University of Kentucky if they choose to come back one day and graduate. Pretty nice deal if you ask me.

    • jaws2
      5:22 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Jason, the one part you have totally wrong is that MOST college BB players DO NOT make the NBA. It’s a very small percentage that make it. Having said that, a 19 or 20 year old kid that is equipped would be crazy to pass the money doled out today.

    • JASUN74
      7:05 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      I was talking about our one and done players at Kentucky. Thought it was pretty clear who I was talking about but that’s cool.

    • JASUN74
      7:08 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Jaws2 , I do 100% agree with you if that was the case and I had been talking about all college players though.

  3. Mathlete
    3:20 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    There’s so much nonsense in this letter the only way to tackle it all is to start at the beginning…

    “He couldn’t do it at universities of Massachusetts or Memphis. He needed UK to achieve his goal.” Um.. he did do it at Memphis and UMass. He just does it better here.

    “He has pimped Kentucky basketball.”
    I don’t even know what they mean by this. Given the analogy, they might be confused with Louisville.

    “I told them they’ve already won the lottery. If they want a degree, they can go online and get one from the University of Phoenix.”
    They *have* won the genetic (and work ethic) lottery, and they’re going to be picked by the team that wins the draft lottery. Most of these guys are going to the NBA whether they play at UK or anywhere else. Plus, they have scholarships for life, and they’ve been welcomed back with open arms every time they come to Lexington whether it’s for class or just to work out over the summer.

    “But, in ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary, I learned that he pushes them to go for the money.”
    Yep. And they should. The shelf life of a pro athlete is already short, and you never know what will happen to shorten it even further. Get the money while you can, and come back to finish your degree if you want to (Marcus Camby just graduated from UMass, for example).

  4. lexslamman
    3:20 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    You know what? I think it’s a good debate to be had. I still think allowing young people to achieve their dreams in a profession they love is the hallmark of a great university, right? From that perspective, John Calipari has ELEVATED the values at UK, not eroded them.

  5. Bluebloodtoo
    3:35 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    There’s still newspaper in lexington?

  6. empiremaker
    3:40 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    It took a little while to adjust to Cal’s system, I have completely and truly accepted what means to be a “players first program” with some regrets of what it would have been if they stayed a bit longer. Coach allows his players a through investigation of a job prospect at the end of which if they get offered millions of dollars, why not take that job?

  7. woohop1
    3:41 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    The only main thing missing from the commentary of the “concerned fan” is the ultimate end point and goal of the Calipari Style……….that is, to go down in basketball history as the recruiter of the most NBA Draft Choices ever……..not the Coach of the University of Kentucky with the most National Championships which it seems has been forgotten. This is THE goal of every true-blue fans who reveres the team magic of 4 year players toward that goal. One and Done players are self-serving with a reverence for Calipari, but not the Team-UK which represents the fans in love withTeam……not Self. You don’t agree?? Then let’s see how many National Championships Calipari wins by the time he retires after his son graduates……..whom ironically will be a Four and Done .

    • knowitall
      3:56 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      NIce use of verbage to make someone reading your garbage think that you are smart. However, you are not. As long as Cal has been coach he has stated over and over again that yes, indeed, his goal is to get everyone he can to the NBA to make money that they wouldn’t otherwise make. This is not new. Either be ok with it or go root for another team. Of course he is going to try to win every game possible but at the end of the day he made the decision to be more about the players than the program.

    • 4everblue
      7:07 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      woohop1, you are without a doubt the most ignorant @sswipe I have ever seen on this site and trust me there are some real winners on here. Good luck with your UofLittleBrother team, you are an idiot!

  8. Rod Crandler
    3:50 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Who still writes “Letters to the Editor”? Hahahahaha.

    • ClutchCargo
      3:57 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      I was about to say the same thing, but then I realized I had just wasted a few seconds of my life READING a letter to the editor!

    • njCat
      5:21 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      You all know that these one and done players Cal recruits will be one and done REGARDLESS of whether they come to KY or not. It’s not Cal that gets them there, it’s their God-given talent and work ethic.

      It would be nice to have a mixture of 3 or 4 year contributors to go along with a couple of one and dones. Fewer NBA draft picks, perhaps. More continuity in the program, for sure.

      I don’t envy the coach that replaces Calipari. The cupboard will be bare.

    • J-Dub421
      5:38 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      njCat, if that’s true, then why do UK players perform so much better in the NBA than players from other schools? Why don’t Duke and Kansas have as many guys in the NBA as we do? They both get comparable numbers of McDonald’s All Americans.

    • runningunnin.454
      6:02 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      And when Cal is gone, we won’t get 5 star recruits. We will get 4 year players that lose to Gardner Webb, UAB, San Diego, Akron, Fordham, and Podunk College.

    • 4everblue
      7:10 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Well said J-Dubb and runninggunnin! I can’t even believe there are this many haters in the BBN, hell we have more haters that claim to be UK fans than fans of other teams.

  9. sp
    3:56 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    KSR click bait at its worst. Absolutely no reason to bring that crap here besides click $$&

    • ukkatzfan
      4:11 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Is that a nibble they got? No, it’s a bite. Reel that fish in. Hey look at this one, we even got a response. Anymore click bait over there? This one took it…. hook, line and sinker.

  10. secrick
    4:06 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    You can’t fix stupid.

  11. ukkatzfan
    4:07 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    I think the writer should question themselves. I have 2 choices in my life. #1 Go to school for 4 years and then work in my dream job while chancing a career threatening injury OR #2 Go to school for one year , then work in my dream job and gain 3 years on the pay chart while earning $$$ that will change my family tree. I can then earn a degree in my spare time as an adult instead of a young person with friends that have “college party life” on their list. 1 or 2. If #2, then why be upset with Cal? If #1, why am I being a big fat liar?

  12. CatManDo
    4:17 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Don’t need him as a fan, go root for the prostitute school. Like Kevin Durant said “If you don’t like it,don’t watch.”

  13. Lip Man 1
    4:35 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink


    You may find this hard to believe but there still is something actually called a newspaper that prints “Letters to the Editor…”

    Some folks actually still read them…and not on a tablet or a small cell phone.

  14. BK
    5:02 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Everyone should be able to express their opinion, and I’m glad this person has the space to express their view. However, I don’t agree with it, and I think that one of the things that gets routinely overlooked is the fact that the kids Cal brings to Kentucky are, in their respective discipline, like 4.0+gpa students with 1580 SAT scores, headed to Harvard. They are the best of the best, and possess rare talents, quite likely more rare than any academic talent possessed by other UK students. So, if they are coming here to “study” basketball as their primary course, to prepare for their professional future with the acknowledged best teacher in terms of preparing them for that future, how is that so different from other students? So what is their sheer precocity allows them to “graduate” several years earlier and move on to professional life? Even if they never come back to do further study at least they have been exposed to it and have gained something they wouldn’t otherwise. And their “professor” Cal continues to follow them and stays involved in their lives much more than most any other professor does. He is a long-term mentoring and stabilizing presence for them, as is the program where they did their “course work” for professional life. This is exactly what I think Cal sees, the vision he has, and what so many other people don’t understand. How the hell as that “pimping out” the players and the program?

  15. jayiron11
    5:11 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Note to future UK recruits… Don’t go for the money. How dare you go for money. Even though earning an income is the eventual goal of ALL college students, stay at UK for this pathetic, entitled fan who wrote this letter to the LHL.
    Stay in school so this pathetic fan can can talk trash about your game even though she doesn’t know anything about basketball.
    Even though the loser that wrote this letter to the LHL has no concept of the amount of time and work you have put into your craft, stay in school.
    How dare these student athletes have the audacity to leave liberal college and universities to make more money than 99% of the United States population will make in their lifetimes. (SARCASM FONT)

    • Eazy
      6:04 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Good point, but 95% of these basketball players are liberal/progressive too. It’s the conservatives who want them to stay for the most part.

  16. Kyreds
    5:22 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    I think he sells them out all ways has! runs them off to make way for the top players in high school!Bam, Dakari & more was not ready! don’t like the way he does!

    • runningunnin.454
      7:24 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

      Bam and Dakari were top players/recruits in HS. Therefore, your first two words are incorrect…you don’t think. You suffer from cognitive dissonance.

  17. dwford61
    5:25 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    This woman is off her rocker!!!!

  18. Ken Grizzle
    5:30 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    To the person who wrote the letter concerning Coach Cal and his “Pimping” players. While I respect your right to your opinion, I also have the right to disagree. Which I strongly do. You are dead wrong. Have A Nice Day.

  19. jaws2
    5:37 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    All Cal has done is create possibly the most exciting time in KY basketball history. You just can’t deny that. He creates a title shot practically every year. I would suggest in today’s climate that if he followed 95% of the other coaches strategy in recruiting and keeping players 4 years, 80% of the fans would be disappointed in the results and certainly the excitement.
    I’m not crazy about this approach either, but the guy has genuinely changed families lives to a degree most of us will never experience. In addition, he’s given genuinely, tremendously back to the community overall and has to this point only enhanced the U.K. brand worldwide. Goodness, what else could we ask of a head coach? Pole dancers, ceiling squirters,(UofSmell) free pass classes, (UNC) a continuous flow of poor citizens with police issues (KS)? I don’t think so. We should be thankful everyday that he’s here. Who in the hell is going to fill those shoes and create the same environment?

  20. lribookend
    6:00 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    When I read the quotes from the idiot who wrote the letter to the editor, all I could think about was the old saying by either Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

    The author of the letter removed all doubt.

  21. runningunnin.454
    6:18 pm May 26, 2017 Permalink

    Did the idiot give her name? I would hate to let people know that I’m this ignorant.
    Cal has brought us the most exciting era in UK basketball since 1948-1951 and 1996-1998.
    This person should just become a Memphis fan…I’m sure 5 star players will be beating down the doors.

  22. mostdiggity
    12:24 am May 28, 2017 Permalink

    Read this:

    Do I think NBA Professional players are overpaid? Yes, if only because it drives ticket prices up to where only corporate ticket holders and other well-heeled fans or camping students can afford to watch the Cats play in person. How about a pair of sneakers signed by an elite player? The prices are beyond ludicrous… just so our kids can “fit in” at school.

    Of course, basketball players are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to people being overpaid I mean, isn’t $100 million a year enough? That’s pocket change to elite bankers, Silicon Valley techno-thiefs, and other corporate globalists.

    If tax rates were 90% for income over $10 million a year and without loopholes (like they were in the 50s and 60s) you would see incomes drop precipitously and our $20 Trillion dollar debt and inflation disappear.

    Our culture is nearing the end of a cycle repeated several times in history… when the income gap eventually tears a rip in the fabric of civilized society. Anarchy typically ensues to reset the meter… but it’s bloody chaos for a long time in-between.

    But, I digress. The above article is naive if nothing else. Seems a “pimp” would convince his players to stick around… not bolt for the pros. Wouldn’t it be easier on him and easier to win another Natty if the “lottery” guys stuck around another year or two? Diallo is another story. He owed us his promise of playing one season and attending school.

    I believe in freedom and freedom of choice, but I don’t advocate cheating and stealing; the point that I attempted to make about our elitist corporate kleptocracy, whose advocates argue that their theft is simple capitalism at work. True, if one accepts that it means the cards are stacked, the game is rigged and their fraternal bonds guarantee them a win at any and all costs for their members.

    Cal is not a gold digger. He is a (gold) miner with a heart of gold (nod to Neil Young).