If there’s such a thing as Zen recruiting, John Calipari is the master of it.
Coach Cal has a way of showing up in the right places and knowing the right people. Even when he’s not phoning a high school kid or visiting a prep school game, he’s putting forth the image of a winner, and someone who is ineffably cool. He somehow manages to radiate street cred despite being a 53-year-old man with slicked-back hair.
Nobody has embraced the internet as a recruiting tool like Calipari has. Just this week, he casually tweeted a photo of himself backstage at a Jay-Z concert, with the headliner — bathed in the spotlight — just over his left shoulder. He threw in an image of him alongside Nets coach Avery Bradley and another with Magic Johnson.
Well played, sir. Well played.
He even made light of his checkered history with the hip-hop mogul in another tweet, as reported by Kentucky.com:
“I told Jay-Z that I might get fined $50k for being in HIS locker room tonight. He said “I got you”. #Lafamilia”
With that tweet, Calipari is referencing the $50,000 that the NBA fined Jay-Z for meeting with UK’s players in the Nets locker room in Newark after the Cats clinched a berth to the Final Four two years ago.
That meeting and subsequent fine spawned the opening lyric to one of the most popular songs on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album a year later.
It’s actually rather amazing how Cal does it. As intentionally public as it is, it never feels forced. Very few other coaches have managed to come even close to his mastery of internet cool. That’s why everyone else is still, well, watching his throne.
(photo from @UKCoachCalipari)