Calipari wanted Rick Pitino to come to the 1993 team reunion

Mrs. Tyler Thompsonalmost 3 years

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Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, Kentucky recognized the 1993 Final Four team, which was coached by Rick Pitino. Pitino didn’t attend, but tweeted his thanks to John Calipari this morning for the invitation.

After the game, Calipari said he hopes Kentucky fans can put their animosity for Pitino aside because what he did for the program was so important.

“He was with family and he had things going on but I said, ‘Look, you need to get up here. This will be respectful here.’ What that program did to change this back, we should recognize it. You may be mad he went to coach Louisville. So what? When he was here and we needed this program on a different track, he put it and that group, and I thanked that group last night. ‘You guys got this thing back going. You guys did.’

“I just — like I said, I’d like him to come back and let him — one of the happiest things for me is when I see how Coach [Joe B.] Hall is treated here. He’s treated like royalty. I love it when he goes out on the court. I love to see him in practice and I love how our fans treat him. My guess is back in the day they probably weren’t as friendly. But now they look at it and say, you know what? Who would have followed Adolph Rupp? Who was stupid enough to do that? He was. Won Final Fours, won national titles. Think about it.

“And now, what Rick did? Like I said, he deserves to be able to get the respect from what he did here. And I think our fans would be great. I think they’re by all that. He may not think that, but I’m convinced that if he came back, the fans would be great to him.”

If you missed it, here’s the 1993 team being recognized:

And the film that played on the jumbotrons at Rupp:

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2021-09-18