[Moderated by Matt Jones]
What follows is what I imagine Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said to his teammates at halftime during the UT game.
I am happy to present to you today what will be known as the greatest halftime speech by a player in the history of Big Blue Nation.
Four score years ago a great coach in whose symbolic shadow we play today signed a contract to lead the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team. This momentous decree came as a great beckoning light of hope to millions of Wildcat fans who had been seared in the flames of monotonous slow-break offense. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their sluggish playing style.
But eighty years later, the Wildcat is still not free. Eighty years later the life of the Wildcat is still sadly crippled by the manacles of merely seven national championships and the chains of discrimination at the hands of all announcers and referees everywhere. Eighty years later the Wildcat lives on a lonely island of dissatisfaction in the midst of a vast field of unworthy teams winning championships. Eighty years later the Wildcat is still in the spotlight of basketball society and finds himself facing constant criticism in his own land.
We all have come to this oranged spot to remind Kentucky of the fierce urgency of now. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of a near ten-loss season to the sunlit path to New Orleans. Now is the time to improve shaky team chemistry to the solid rock of brotherhood and breakfast clubs. Now is the time to make victory ring out for all of the Big Blue faithful!
There will be neither rest nor tranquility in Lexington until the Wildcat is granted an eighth banner. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative trash-talking and throwing of three goggles to degenerate into physical violence (ahem, Terrence and Marquis). Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of marrying physical force with soul force.
And the infectious new spirit which has engulfed the Wildcat community, which has been adopted by our hip-hop brethren of Jay-Z and Drake, must not lead us to become distracted by the glamour of playing for the University, for many of our basketball ancestors have evidenced by their presence here today that they have come to realize that their destiny is part of our destiny; our history is their history; and in that, our victory is their victory.
So even though we face the difficulties of today and the rest of the season, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the Wildcat dream. I have a dream that one day this Big Blue Nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “All Cats, Everything.” I have a dream that one day on the blue hills of Corbin, the sons of former players and the sons of current fans will be able to sit together at the Joe B’s table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the city of Louisville, a city that currently doesn’t exist, a city sweltering with the heat of underachievement, sweltering with the heat of suckiness, will be transformed into an oasis of Kentucky fans lacking line beards and flat bills. I have a dream that children will one day live in a state where they will not be judged by their basketball skill but by the measure of their basketball passion. I have a dream that one day every KFC shall be exalted, every racetrack will be lucky, the Hamburg layout will make sense, and before Bill Keightley, an eighth trophy will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the court with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the six point deficit of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the genuine discords of our Big Blue Nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to play together; to struggle together, to go undefeated in the SEC together, to film lip-synching YouTube videos forever, knowing that we will be triumphant one day.
And I say to you today, my team, let victory ring. From the prodigious mountains of Appalachia, let triumph ring. From the mighty Kentucky River, let freedom ring. From the speed-trap that is the Bluegrass Parkway!
Let “All I Do Is Win” play on repeat at Tin Roof!
Let there be a riot at Limestone and Euclid!
But not only there; let fans celebrate in whatever street they desire!
Let victory ring from White Hall!
Let there be free Orange Leaf for everyone! (with the appropriate discount code from Coach Cal as disclosed on Twitter)
And when this happens, when we allow victory to ring, when we let it ring from every subdivision and school, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of Kentucky’s fans, men and women, Turtleman and Ashley Judd, Transylvania and Centre graduates too, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the Jay-Z and Kanye West, “BALLED SO HARD MUTHA-F***ERS COULDN’T FIND US.”
My parents follow me on Twitter. You should too. @KristenGeilKSR.
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