Calipari documentary resonates with all

Bailey Vandiver

“Wow.” This is what John Calipari said when he saw Adolph Rupp’s shrine-like area in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame before visiting his own newly inducted place.

This is also what viewers of “One and Not Done” likely thought after watching ESPN’s 30 for 30 on Calipari, directed by Jonathan Hock.

This documentary was nothing if not honest. It showcased the Calipari that his fans know and love as well as the Calipari that many others know and hate.

Coverage of Calipari’s Hall of Fame induction was balanced with negative headlines about Calipari. The success of his teams at the University of Massachusetts and University of Memphis was presented along with the scandals of Marcus Camby and Derrick Rose. People talked about his charm, and they talked about times when his temper came out. The documentary covered his success as a college coach as well as his brief, unsuccessful time as the New Jersey Nets coach.

Some things about Calipari have never changed. When talking about the early years of his career, he used his favorite word— “swagger.” And video and audio of his coaching from the sidelines is familiar to any UK fan who has ever sat behind the UK bench or read Calipari’s lips on television.

But this documentary also reveals much about the man who talks about his players more than himself and the coach who says what he wants to say no matter what the reporter asked. Many of the former players that Calipari so often speaks about got a chance to talk about him on camera.

Emotion was everywhere in this documentary— when Calipari talked about his players and when they talked about him. Many of his recruits were from poor backgrounds, Calipari said, and so many of them were incredibly devoted to their mothers. These same players talked about how special it was when Calipari visited them in their own homes when he wanted them on his team.

While Calipari may have become synonymous with UK basketball, this is not a documentary about the Wildcats’ basketball program. This is a documentary about him as a person, and UK is just the most recent part of his basketball story.

This is one of the most interesting parts of the documentary for UK basketball fans who are too young to remember Calipari before UK or for those who only pay attention to UK basketball in general. Much of the two-hour program focuses on Calipari’s time at UMass and Memphis, though his path did cross with UK at times.

In one instance, the University of Massachusetts lost to UK in the Sweet 16 in 1992. UK was then coached by Rick Pitino, who really did look like Calipari in his younger days.

Whether a lifelong UK fan, a longtime fan of Calipari’s or a hater of everything Calipari stands for, this documentary has something to interest every viewer.

And because Calipari probably still has a lot of coaching left in him, there may be another documentary down the road. ESPN has made one— and they might not be done.

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