Archives to celebrate basketball lore



UK basketball is all about history. Ask a former UK great like Kenny “Sky” Walker, and he’ll tell you it’s about continuing traditions into the present and keeping fans in touch with the program’s rich past.

A new set of archives, the Big Blue Sports Archives, helps preserve UK sports history through the use of audio, video and photographs in a new online collection.

“I think that’s a great idea to do that,” said Walker, the Cats’ No. 2 all-time leading scorer with 2,080 points while playing from 1982-86. “There’s so many good stories to tell about UK basketball that those stories can go on for years and years and this is a great way to preserve that tradition.”

Walker is just one of the many UK athletics celebrities expected to attend the Big Blue Sports Archive celebration on Tuesday night at the Griffin Gate Marriott at 6:30 p.m.

Former UK athletes and athletics officials are expected to join Walker at the celebration on Tuesday night. Sam Bowie, Richie Farmer, Joe B. Hall, C.M. Newton, Tom Leach, Kyle Macy, Cliff Hagan and Herky Rupp are some of the athletes, coaches, athletic officials and broadcasters who have expressed their support for the celebration.

UK head coach John Calipari is also expected to be at the celebration and dinner on Tuesday.

“While I have been part of the Big Blue Nation for a relatively short time, I understand your deep appreciation for, and pride in Kentucky’s athletic tradition,” Calipari said in a UK Athletics statement. “I am proud to be a part of that tradition and want to build on its success. But even as we look to the future, we must assure that our wonderful heritage is preserved.”

Walker pointed out he thinks an event like this will be a good opportunity for Calipari to connect with the history of the program and better connect with its past. Walker said he hasn’t seen a guest list of UK athletics celebrities this star-studded since the UK Athletics Hall of Fame opened in 2005. He said the thing that sets UK basketball apart is its dominance across several eras.

That dominance will be showed not just in the archives, but also in the guest list.

“When you get people from different decades, it shows UK has been dominant for a long period of time,” Walker said. “Even though UCLA has more championships than we do, we’ve been dominant since the ‘40s when things started with Wah Wah Jones.”

Of course, it’s that history that made the archives such a great idea, Walker said. Even though he’s looking forward to watching the Cats this season, Walker is also looking forward to Tuesday night’s celebration of the past.

“Any time you get to take the past and merge it with the future, I think it’s an awesome thing,” Walker said.

Admission is $60 for students, and $115 for general admission. To purchase tickets, call Esther Edwards at 257-1742 or e-mail [email protected]