Thursday, July 8, 2010
music and sports, so synonmous
When I initially found out that I was coming to Kentucky the first things that came to mind were John Wall, Drake singer/rapper being a fan and coach John Calipari. I just thought that Drake made friends with Wall from the past and then he came to the Big Blue Madness last fall to see Wall and just ended up blowing up the arena with fans because he is who he is.
I started to ask my new Kentucky friends about the relationship with Drake and UK and they all said Calipari is friends with him. That intrigued me because Calipari does not look like he would be interested in R&B and rap music. After I did some research I came to find that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, especially when you look at Calipari.
Calipari is very “in-tune” with the times. He has a twitter, he has a Facebook, he has a website that he blogs on. Not only does he have accounts with the social networks, he, himself updates them FREQUENTLY.
He seems to be very transparent because he has nothing to be ashamed of and I think that is a characteristic his players recognize. He is active in the community with his recent basketball camp tours around Kentucky and in the world with his recent visit to Haiti. I think that is so admirable and a lot more coaches should open their minds outside of basketball.
I think that because he is so open-minded he has the upper hand in college basketball and that is what makes him the best college coach in the nation. That is why he had five players drafted in the first round, not because he calls good plays but because of who he is off the court. Coaches are always talking about team bonding and getting to know your players. With Calipari it seems like he treats his players like sons, not puppets. Maybe him being Italian has a lot to do with it, but ultimately he puts himself in their shoes and any coach regardless of nationality should do that.
It may seem like I’m blowing him up just because he listens to rap and so do his players, so that must make him a great coach. But its deeper than that. Let’s take the lyrics that Drake uses for instance. He talks about giving back, relationships, success and being a good person.
I’ll admit sometimes the rapper is a little cocky, but that’s what makes hits. Going into anything with a positive attitude is the method used in every form of competition. Who can’t relate to these things in some way? I think Calipari realizes that Drake isn’t a typical rapper. He’s a young man striving to do great things with his talent. Just like all the men on his college basketball team who are trying to do great things with their skills, and CLEARLY they are doing it.
I also think Calipari realizes in order to coach them effectively, he must know his players mentality. Being that his players are young men he must get into what they get into. Not to say he’s trying to be “down” but what person can take criticism from a person that doesn’t really know them. It’s not that he wants to be young, he just has to understand how the young minds are thinking in 2010 and it just so happened to be on Drake, who he actually likes.
A quote from H. Gordon Selfridge from the American-British retail magnate comes to mind when I think of Calipari and his mentality.
“The boss drives people; the leader coaches them. The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will. The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm. The boss says 'I'; the leader says 'we.' The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown. The boss says 'go'; the leader says 'let's go!'"
Basketball has been in my family since I can remember, but leadership is what I attained from playing. I’ve never been a coach, but I’ve always been a leader. Calipari is a great coach because he’s a great man. He sits and talks with his player’s about their life. He doesn’t stand over them telling them about his achievements because he is one with his team.
My friends in Dallas, Texas may not like it when I say this, but with a team and coach combination like this one I have to say from the bottom of my heart — GO BIG BLUE!
photo's were taken by Victoria Graff and Clay Jackson