John Calipari Strongly Conveyed the Christmas Spirit this Week

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After his team beat #9 North Carolina 80-72 at the United Center in Chicago, Kentucky Coach John Calipari gave a postgame press conference that had an important message- one that goes well above and beyond mere basketball. Calipari wished the media Merry Christmas, and then advised any person with the means of taking somebody in this Christmas to do so.

He was speaking about those who won’t have a place to be this Christmas. Coach Cal suggested that if you have the ability to warmly welcome one of these people into your home this holiday season, you should do so.

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“For everybody, have a great Christmas, hope you spend it with family and I tell all the people out there, if you get a chance to bring somebody into your home for Christmas, a neighbor or somebody that’s out there, maybe think about doing it,” Calipari said.

Calipari and his team celebrated Christmas together on Wednesday.

“Yesterday was a really special day for these players,” he told local media on Thursday.

“We had Christmas for a bunch of families. They sang. They gave our presents. They met with the families. They served them food. They had conversations. They found out things about the families that kind of, you know – it kind of rocks you a little bit. It was a huge day for our players.

“I always look forward to the day because I want to see how our guys respond. (Kentucky Sports Information Director) Eric (Lindsey) and I talked – you look around the league (NBA) and our players are doing stuff for other families during this time. If I tell you every player, it probably is – some of them are more public about it.”

“Some of them are more quiet and that doesn’t mean the guys that aren’t playing aren’t doing things. They probably are too. It’s one of my favorite days of the year when we are able to do that for my players and for the families.”

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Coach Cal also articulated the true meaning of Christmas.

“It’s a big day where your joy comes from you doing for someone else,” he continued.

“It’s not what you’re gathering; it’s what you’re giving. I’m just telling you, it’s – for me to see it – one little girl had lost her mother in an accident, being raised by a grandmother. Another family, the father lost his job in the hallway before he walked in to have dinner.”

He also discussed the one present from a past Christmas which brought the most happiness to his son, Brad Calipari, over the years.

“Well, when he was a little kid, I always used to say, ‘There’s no one that has more fun than you. No one.’ So, he would enjoy any of this. But the funny thing is if you go to our tree, you know how people make ornaments when they’re 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 and they make an ornament or a candy cane?” Calipari said of his child/former player at Kentucky. 

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“For probably eight straight years it was his picture in something was his ornament. So you have kinds of Brad pictures on our tree. So he must be like his mother, I guess. Likes seeing pictures of himself, I guess. [Laughter.]”

A lot of fans and media write and say very negative things about Calipari; quite often. Hopefully, at least one of them will read this piece and realize how Calipari feels about Christmas. And with that perhaps change their mind about him.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation. 

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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