At a press conference in Louisville yesterday, Cards coach Rick Pitino appeared a bit annoyed with questions about John Calipari and the Dominican Republic National Team holding an exhibition game in the Redbirds’ home roost of the Yum Center on August 16. Finally, Pitino said it was a free country and if Lady Gaga could play the Yum Center, then the DRNT could play the Yum Center.
So John Calipari can be compared to Lady Gaga.
Makes some sense. Both are always in the news. Both are at the top of their games. Both can be considered outrageous and controversial. Both have their critics, yet both are immensely popular with their fan bases.
So if Cal is Lady Gaga, then what about the other top college basketball coaches?
(Note: I should have specified more clearly than the comparisons are to female artists.)
1. John Calipari – Lady Gaga
See above. By the way, both were born that way.
2. Brad Stevens – Taylor Swift
Both are extremely young and extremely talented with chart-topping success. Better still, both are considered the All-American kids next door, the type you’d bring home to the family for dinner. Then Taylor would get out her guitar and sing on the front porch afterward while Brad shot hoops in the driveway.
3. John Thompson – Aretha Franklin
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me. Enough said. And would someone get Thompson a Snickers bar. Might improve his mood.
4. Mike Kryzewski — Barbara Striesand
Ah, maybe the two top performers in their profession. Krzyzewski has been among the elite coaches for a very long time, commanding big contracts, winning titles. Striesand can pack any house, still sell records. Both icons.
5. Rick Pitino – Sheryl Crow
Both have seen their ups and downs. Both have changed genres and styles from time to time. And both are starting to show their miles. Some believe their best work is behind them. Thankfully, Pitino was not Josh Hopkin’s love interest on Cougar Town.
6. Bruce Pearl – Madonna
Both have been known to dress up in elaborate costumes. When married to Guy Ritchie and living in London, Madonna was accused of faking an English accent. When being interviewed by NCAA investigators, Bruce Pearl faked ignorance when it came to a damaging photo.
7. Bill Self – Martina McBride
Self was born in Oklahoma. McBride was born in Kansas. Both have been successful in their fields, though considering their talents, you just get the feeling both should be a little more successful. Self has won a national title, but has never been heard on the introduction to the Sean Hannity show.
8. Billy Donovan – Pat Benatar
Both grew up on Long Island. Both are a bit undersized, but pack a punch. Alas, although he has won two national titles, Donovan has never appeared in Guitar Hero.
9. Tubby Smith – Natalie Cole
Both are classy, sophisticated and dignified. Both had big shoes to fill. Natalie was always compared to her father, the great Nat King Cole. At Kentucky, Tubby was always compared to his predecessor, the then-great Rick Pitino.
10. Jim Calhoun – Celine Dion
Both are war horses who keep right on going, and you’re not quite sure how either keeps packing the house. But they do. Both have had bouts with mysterious medical issues. Calhoun was born in Massachusetts. Dion was born in Canada. Close enough.