John Calipari’s love is not for #BBN and the color blue; it’s for green as in cash

by Kent Sterling

John Calipari will be in Lexington next season, unless someone offers him north of $60 million over the next seven years.

John Calipari will be in Lexington next season, unless someone offers him north of $60 million over the next seven years.

Anyone who buys what Kentucky Basketball coach John Calipari has sold for years about his tremendous love for his current employee is a sap.  That’s been true from his first day at the school, and will continue to be true until he leaves.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported this morning that Calipari and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert were deep into negotiations to bring him in as the coach and president prior to his signing a new contract to remain at Kentucky that will pay him $52.5 million over the next seven years.

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I don’t begrudge Calipari’s desire for extreme compensation.  There’s nothing inherently corrupt about wealth.  Creating value for an employer is a positive, and if he had accepted the $60M from Gilbert, he would have been well within his rights to do that.

Just don’t feed me this load of crap about his deep love for Big Blue Nation.  Let’s assume for the sake of logic that Kentucky didn’t shred Calipari’s previous deal and offer to pay him an average of $7.5M per because they suffered from a crisis of conscience.  It’s a virtual certainty that Calipari came to UK with the offer from Cleveland, and said, “Fellas, I have been offered serious cake for jumping, and unless you up your game, I’m a ghost.”

What Calipari certainly did not say was, “I listened politely as Cleveland offered me a ton of bread to run their franchise, but I love Lexington and Big Blue Nation far too much to leave.”

Of course, at some point, Calipari is going to leave Kentucky unless the university continues to pony up at more and more ridiculous levels.  He loved UMass until the New Jersey Nets rolled up a Brink’s truck.  He loved Memphis until Kentucky went all in to rebuild the basketball program virtually ruined by Billy Gillespie.  And he’s love Kentucky until they can no longer feed Calipari’s unquenchable thirst for more and more money.

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If Wojnarowski’s numbers are accurate, he will stay at Kentucky for slightly less money than the seven year, $60 million Gilbert came up with.  If that conveys to Kentucky fans an amount of affection for the university, fine.  If that helps the knuckleheaded dim bulbs south the the Ohio River continue to embrace Calipari the coach as opposed to embracing him as a corporation, have at it.

But make no mistake, Calipari’s love is for the color green, not blue.

11 thoughts on “John Calipari’s love is not for #BBN and the color blue; it’s for green as in cash

  1. Pauly Balst

    UK is willing to pay because they are getting value and ROI, just like Alabama paying Nick Saban. In isolation, I don’t blame Cal or UK, it works and achieves their goals.

    Academics or Trustees may not be comfortable with the one and done nature of the program, but I don’t have a horse in that race.

    I credit UK and Cal for being cutting edge on getting to where college athletics appear to be headed.

    If they had a set they’d start pushing for pay, instead of Northwestern athletes taking leadership in that process.

    Cut the crap at 700 West Washington, let the kids make some dough!

    1. kentsterling Post author

      My gripe with Calipari is that he signed a contract, and should honor it. Instead, he relentlessly renegotiates. Sign the paper; honor the paper.

      Calipari could learn something from Larry Bird, who retired days before the Celtics would have owed him millions – even after dave Gavitt, who was running the Celtics at the time, encouraged Bird to put off filing the paperwork until the money was paid.

        1. kentsterling Post author

          Read more than the posts about Calipari, and you will find a piece or two about the Crean extension. Do a little reading before you make ridiculous accusations.

  2. For the Love of Gawd

    Getting low on clicks, Kent? Nothing a good old fashioned troll piece can’t cure, right?!

    Wasn’t it just the other day you called out ESPN for the “silliest of all journalistic contrivances” and a “level of boobery” expected from Bleacher Report? Coincidentally, that piece took an indirect jab at your boyfriend Tom Crean. Funny how you suddenly turned into the journalism police.

    Well officer, how do you rate this piece you’ve done today on the spectrum of journalist integrity? I mean, isn’t just another one of your tired Calipari hatchet jobs, designed to do nothing more than drum up readership from angry UK fans?

    Why don’t you find a real topic, research it, and write a decent article. Or, at the very least, make some effort to cloak your yellow journalism.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Your vitriol should be reserved for the coach who is going to suckle at the Kentucky teat until it’s dry. To hold up his employer for yet more cash, and then claim to journalists that the extension was done in April is typical Calipari revisionist history. When in doubt about the character of a man, how he behaves when under contract is a solid indicator.

      I’m not the journalism police – I’m the character police. Both ESPN and Calipari failed in those instances.

      1. The Dire Wolf

        This is America. We have free markets. If you don’t think people should be compensated based on the value they bring to the market place, there are lots of other countries that would suit you better.

        By the way, did you cry like this when Clappy the Clown received his new contract?

        1. kentsterling Post author

          I was not happy with Crean’s extension any more than I am with Calipari’s. A contract is a contract. Kentucky should have told Calipari to honor his deal or leave. The relentless renegotiations are nauseating.

  3. Warren in TN.

    Kent, you might want to check your basic math. 60 million is MORE than 52 million. If what you say, think, and write is true, then he would’ve already jumped ship because he wanted more money. Or as you so ineloquently put, loves the color green, as in money.

    But don’t let a simple fact or basic math get in the way of your laughable tilting at the proverbial windmill.

    Tilt on, Don Quixote, tilt on !

    ps – I don’t think you, Tom Crean, or the administration at IU is clever enough to all be in on such a conspiracy…. but it would be a heckuva slick thing you got going on here if this is a ploy at getting Crean another raise and contract extension with all this whining about Cal’s nice new deal.


    1. kentsterling Post author

      I am neither that clever nor that selflessly generous in finding a way for the rich to get richer. Crean getting an extension after a 17-15 season would be hard to fathom.

      $7.5 million a year is a lot more than $5 million too.

      He was never going to Cleveland, and I don’t believe for a minute the self-serving reports that Calipari’s extension was a done deal in April. Calipari just didn’t want people to accuse him of leveraging the NBA interest for more UK cash – even though I’ve been told that is exactly what happened.


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