As the lights dimmed at the Kentucky Theater Monday night I glanced around the capacity filled theater. The current team filled two rows surrounded by former players. Coach Joe B. Hall took his seat in front of Coach Cal as the Big Blue Nation filled the remaining seats for the premier of 30 on 30, “One and Not Done.”
The audience was there to see John Calipari’s story. It was not about Kentucky Basketball, but the chapters of Cal’s life that led him to become our coach. There were good chapters and there were bad. There were haters and there were admirers. There were followers and there were non-believers.
This is the story of the man who needed Kentucky Basketball as much as Kentucky Basketball needed him.
The documentary opens with Coach Cal practicing his Hall of Fame speech. Director Jonathan Hock then begins Cal’s journey that lead him to that night.
The accomplishments of his teams at U Mass and Memphis give perspective to the drive that to this day pushes Calipari. His willingness to try new things and “put himself out there” started in his early days of coaching.
There are some brief exchanges with Pitino that will make Kentucky fans smile. Please note the ties being worn, they are comedy within themselves.
There are the rough times. As we all know, sometimes you have bad chapters that open the doors to greater ones.
The one take away from this documentary is Calipari’s unconditional love for his players. Through the good and the bad he stands beside them. He celebrates their achievements and comforts in their defeats.
John Wall, Anthony Davis and Marcus Camby are just a few of those interviewed. I could put it no better than John Wall, “No one liked what he was doing at Kentucky but now everyone is doing it, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina.”
The interview with Jim Calhoun is candid and obvious that he has no love for Calipari. So, if you didn’t like Calhoun before your opinion will not change.
Spoiler Alert: The last five minutes you do not want to miss!
The documentary will air this Thursday, April 13th, 9 p.m. on ESPN.