Kentucky Coach John Calipari appeared on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN Radio program Friday morning, telling the national host that he needs to stop talking about John Wall doing a dance for 30 seconds five years ago because he sounds like a raving unhinged lunatic completely divorced from the world in which humans live.
Cowherd had promoted Calipari’s appearance by saying the Wildcats coach wanted to defend Wall, the Wizards all-star point guard who has had a fine career thus far, leading Washington from the trash heap to the playoffs and never flirting with trouble, despite once dancing for 30 seconds five years ago. But Cowherd instead asked Calipari questions about being famous in Lexington, and about recruiting, and about Karl-Anthony Towns. So finally Calipari forced the issue.
“You’ve got to stop on John Wall,” the coach said. “You’re out of your mind. He did something six years ago when he was 19 years old. He does a dance. What was the name of the dance? Stop. That was seven years ago. Here’s what I would say to you: he and Derrick Rose and a couple other guys are the best point guards in the league. They are.”
There followed a discussion about the offensive chances that Wall and Rose — as fast, athletic point guards — can create. Which is interesting, but sort of besides the point of whether someone having danced for 30 seconds five years ago speaks to a defining personality trait.
Cowherd said Wall had gotten guys kicked off planes. Calipari said that was one of his boys, and that if he cares about that, Cowherd would also need to similarly lambaste every NBA player whose boys have ever done anything amiss.
“Don’t you think he could mature a little?” Cowherd asked.
“Oh no, I’m with you,” Calipari said. “Listen, he has come so far. There’s not one time that he doesn’t text me or call me that ends with ‘Coach, I love you.’ Are you kidding me? And I’m telling you, he took over a franchise that was abysmal; they’re now in the playoffs. He’s 24 years old. Here’s what I would say: you can say, look, he doesn’t shoot [that well]. He’s becoming a better leader. He did the Dougie. He lost his mind. He didn’t know better. It was immature.
They then transitioned to a discussion of the NBA’s best point guards, and how the position has changed over time. Which, again, was interesting, but tangential to the notion of a radio host repeatedly flogging an athlete’s character based on said athlete having once danced for 30 seconds five years ago.
Wall and Rose, Calipari said, “have the courage to have the ball the last two minutes and make plays. They both do. Now, they don’t always make the great decisions. They’re still learning. But I’ll say this: they’re not afraid to miss the winning shot, neither one of those two. And that’s why I come back to with you, you’re like that guy that’s hooked on this thing about the Dougie, so it’s driving you crazy. You’ve got to go to church, ask for forgiveness. Let it go by. Let it go. Forgive.”
Cowherd said he’s not much of a church goer. And then they made nice and laughed a lot.
“Hey, you do a great job,” Calipari said to Cowherd. “I like you and how you do your job. You have your convictions — most of them wrong — but you do have your convictions, and you speak about them. You do a great job.”
A claim that will promptly be forwarded to The Fact Checker.