(UPDATE: we’ll have an exclusive with Director Jonathan Hock on Friday, the audio and transcript of which will be posted Monday morning, alongside our review of the film)
John Calipari is one of the most polarizing figures in all of sport, and the reasons for this go well above and beyond the garden variety envy that always accompanies the highest standards of success.
Yes, the Kentucky Wildcats dominate the NBA Draft and the McDonald’s All-American Game. They win a lot of championships, regular season, conference tournament and NCAA Tournament games too.
However, the hatred for UK men’s basketball, and Calipari, runs so much deeper than simple “they hate us cuz they ain’t us,” and if you claim it’s as simple as that, then you are being either egregiously ignorant or intentionally evasive.
For some, the hatred revolves around John Calipari, and his checkered past. Whether deserved or not, he definitely has a reputation among many for being crooked. Coach Cal is such a polarizing figure that an ESPN Films 30 for 30 on this exact topic will soon debut.
For others, it’s the openly mercenary ethos of the one-and-done style approach and the reality that “one and done,” whether fairly or unfairly has become synonymous with Kentucky basketball. Duke just won the 2015 national championship, led by three one-and-done freshmen, yet no one ever dares to slam Coach K. for “ruining the integrity of the game.”
We posed the question “why is there such a backlash against Kentucky and John Caliapri to CBS’ Bill Raftery, and his answer, which you can read at this link, was about as astute and informative a response as you’ll ever hear.
In this zeitgeist, it’s perfect timing for the next installment in ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series, “One and Not Done,” which will take an intimate look at Coach Cal. The film, directed by Jonathan Hock (“Of Miracles and Men,” “Survive and Advance,” “The Best That Never Was”) will premiere on Thursday, April 13, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
“You’re gonna hate me,” Calipari is shown saying in the promo, “because I come to your town and we beat your team.” Trailer:
Here is a snippet from the promotional write-up by ESPN for the John Calipari doc:
Who is John Calipari? To his devotees, he is one of college basketball’s greatest coaches. To his detractors, he represents everything wrong with college sports. Somewhere in between lies one of the most compelling and complicated figures in American sports. “One and Not Done” chronicles the life of Calipari – from high school point guard, to dominating UMass coach, to king of Kentucky.
A man who has not only altered the college basketball landscape and become the face of the so-called “One and Done” phenomenon, but has also had two Final Four appearances vacated and evolved as a coach who at one point had to rebuild his career.
“‘One and Not Done’ is really three films in one,” said director Jonathan Hock. “It’s a biography of an immigrant son’s American Dream, an intense and revealing all-access sports film, and a meditation on corruption and the true meaning of big-time college sports. Making this film was a chance to write history while it’s being made, the kind of filmmaking opportunity that keeps me coming back to 30 for 30 year after year.”
“Few figures in sports today draw such strong opinions and already have the kind of influence and body of work that John Calipari does, and the film provides a deeper understanding of what he’s all about,” said ESPN Films Vice President and Executive Producer John Dahl.
Incoming UK frosh Quade Green is really excited about the Calipari 30 for 30, “One and Not Done,” that debuts on the 13th.
“I can’t wait for that to come out,” Green said.
“I thought it came out last week, I was trying to watch it, and buy it already.”
Green also made some interesting comments about the reputation of Coach Cal, and you can read that over at this link.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times and NBC Chicago.com, contributes to Chicago Tribune.com, Bold, WGN CLTV and KOZN.