LEXINGTON, Ky. – John Calipari will never admit that he did it on purpose, but the Kentucky basketball coach sure seemed to be responding to a North Carolina columnist’s criticism of his postgame attire over the weekend by showing up to Tuesday’s press conference in workout clothes.
“You want me to change?” he asked, grinning. “Or am I good like this?”
Calipari wore shorts, a sweat-soaked T-shirt and a towel slung over his shoulder. Adam Lucas would’ve been aghast. The columnist for UNC basketball’s official website – incredibly – took shots at the Wildcats’ coach after Kentucky won a 103-100 thriller against the Tar Heels in Las Vegas on Saturday. He wrote:
You can hate the game because the opponent was Kentucky and being in the same building with them reminds you of exactly how differently things work in Lexington. John Calipari arrived at his postgame press conference with his tie off, top two buttons on his shirt unbuttoned, and having changed into blue jeans. There are not two top-level programs in America right now that arrive at the end result off the court more differently than Carolina and Kentucky.
Aside from the irony of this coming from the official site of a program that for years had athletes taking fake classes, it seems an odd thing to be riled up about. The coach’s clothes?
“Was it a story?” Calipari asked facetiously Tuesday. “Was it a story, really? That I wore … I was getting ready for a 9-hour plane flight. Did they expect me to go in a suit? The suit’s $1,500. I’m not gonna wrinkle it up.”
Calipari said anyone who follows the program closely knows he tries to get out of the arena and onto the plane back home as quickly as possible after games – and he likes to travel comfortably. As for wearing his workout gear to the podium:
“I’ll get killed for this,” he joked. “Bad-looking legs.”