I know you read the title, and I’m pretty sure you know the reference. However, before you begin to comment or click away… I just ask that you take a moment to read this article in full… please.
When I first started doing videography full-time, I was working for Time Warner’s “CN|2”, which is now owned by Spectrum. I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing working for CN|2 was! The people I worked with and the opportunity I had… was a dream come true. I was exposed to WKU, EKU, UC, UK, UL, and even some high school football. While living in Louisville and working full-time as a Public Access Specialist, I covered Louisville Basketball and Football on the side. I not only covered the men’s basketball games but also the women’s games (who were dangerously good – Shoutout to Sara Hammond). I saw great talent while covering the Cards… Russ Smith… Rozier… Trez… etc.
Now as a Kentucky fan, I’m sure you know how hard this could have been for me. I kept reminding myself, “Do a good job for the network… don’t be biased… and maybe one day you’ll cover UK full-time.” Without that self motivation… I may be throwing my “L Up” today. Well, maybe not. You get the point.
I recorded A LOT of Pitino’s pre-game, post-game, and various interviews in between over the year or so… including this one where he said he could ‘care less about Kentucky‘:
I know deep down inside he regrets leaving Kentucky. I think everybody can see that, but this article isn’t meant to bash or diss Coach P. It’s to tell you that I would NOT have the confidence I do now covering athletics if it weren’t for Coach Pitino.
On my way to one of my first pre-game interviews on Louisville’s campus, I walked into a room where I thought the interview with Rick was being held. Yes, in full typical Andy-Bishop-style… I had my tripod in one hand (which was struggling because I have zero upper body strength) and in the other hand I had my camera bag. I looked a mess. I can’t remember exactly, but there’s a 75% chance that I had some sort of Taco Bell stain on my CN|2 Sports shirt. Well, anyway, the room I walked into was none other than a room where Coach Rick Pitino was standing drinking some water by himself. He was in a black sweatsuit, and I literally was speechless. This is the man that I know my dad loved but also was hurt by when Rick left UK. The same guy that had been on my TV screen my whole childhood life was now right in front of me. I couldn’t mutter a word. In his Manhattan East Side accent, he said, “Hi, I don’t think you’re in the right place…” (with a chuckle and shake of the head). I literally didn’t say a word, turned around, and walked out. Inside… I was crying. I felt like a fool.
That’s not how I gained confidence though. If anything, I completely lost it at that point. Fast forward to when Rick released his book, the “The One Day Contract“. There was a book signing at Molly Malones in Louisville, and I was sent over to cover it. Hoping to avoid past mistakes of awkwardness, I got there two hours early. I just hung around the bar, and before I knew it, Rick Pitino walks in with no one around him. I thought to myself… “This is it…”
I pulled my camera out of my bag, attached a light (because it’s oddly dark in there), and I walked up to him. I said, “Before everyone gets here, do you mind if I interview you?”
Rick looked at me like, ‘Who are you?’ and then he said, “Sure.”
I asked him several questions about his book, his life, and even brought up that my dad really liked him. He said to me, “Thanks for asking me those questions about my book, you did your homework kid.”
To you, that may mean nothing. To me, that was all I needed to hear. I finally felt validated and was given confidence to be bold and be myself. By taking the time to read his book and reference a few chapters… he inspired me to continue doing broadcast journalism. At that point in my career, he was the biggest ‘name’ I had been around. He gave me the time of day when he didn’t have to.
Now I know with everything that has happened with Rick and Louisville, it would be easy to start casting stones. However, I know a God who was around a woman who was about to have some stones casted at her. But before people began throwing those stones, Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.”
No one is perfect, especially me… but I just ask that you would reconsider saying or doing anything until you reflect on who you are. After you do that… see if you can pick up a stone.