BOZICH | How about Pitino vs. Calipari basketball match for charity?
Rick Pitino has created an Internet stir playing pick-up basketball this week. The next stop: A Pitino vs. John Calipari match-up for charity.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Internet can’t get enough of University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino playing basketball.
The video and stories have provided the perfect blend of style and snark. Twitter analyzed every twitch of Pitino’s shoulders at a 3-on-3 tournament in South Florida this week as if he was battling Steph Curry in the NBA Finals.
Let’s take it up a notch. Let’s get Pitino playing basketball against Kentucky coach John Calipari.
It could be H-O-R-S-E.
It could be one-on-one.
It could be Pitino’s coaching staff (led by David Padgett, still a match-up nightmare and screen-setting beast in the post) against Calipari’s coaching staff (led by Kenny Payne, a guy who played his way into the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft because of his ability to make three-point shots).
Pick the format. Just make it for a good cause. Both coaches have several strong connections to charities.
Think about it. Pitino vs. Calipari would be a winner, Must-See off-season TV.
If Deadspin, USA Today, CBSSports.com and even the official NCAA website were hyperventilating Tuesday and Wednesday with the video of Pitino launching three-point shots (and reportedly diving on the floor in pursuit of a loose ball) in the pick-up event near Miami, imagine the interest if the stakes were cranked up to include a Louisville vs. Kentucky, Cal vs. Rick angle.
After several years of fussing at each other and then downplaying their personal and team rivalries, the two coaches worked out a détente last winter when Pitino agreed to appear on Calipari’s podcast.
That was big news as well as a big listen.
This would be bigger news – and podcast worthy.
During their primes, Pitino was likely the better player. (How’s that for providing bulletin board material for Calipari?) Pitino earned a Division I scholarship to Massachusetts while Calipari started his career at North Carolina-Wilmington before transferring to Clarion.
Sources say Pitino was the better shooter, Calipari the better passer. You could say that both players are comfortable telling teammates what to do.
At 64, Pitino is six years older than Calipari and has remained in better shape. But Cal has fought through more physical issues with hip replacement surgery. Neither will remind you of De’Aaron Fox or Donovan Mitchell.
No worries. That’s another reason to watch. Which guy will surrender to fatigue first?
They can both stand and shoot. They can run a team.
And they can certainly draw attention to themselves – and a good cause.
Pitino vs. Calipari.
Who wants to make it happen?
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