Originally posted on Louisville Card Game  |  Last updated 10/4/12

Raise your hand if you’re surprised John Calipari would insert himself into the debate on Mayor Greg Fischer’s efforts to draw a National Basketball Association franchise to Louisville.

If there’s anything puzzling about the University of Kentucky basketball coach’s action, it is that Fred Cowgill, of WLKY, would allow himself to be used as a pawn. Cowgill,  one of several Louisville media people invited to Lexington for “exclusive” interviews, has been named “Best of Louisville” in TV sports by Louisville Magazine for 15 consecutive years.

Calipari has been too quiet for too long for his involvement to be spontaneous. Most likely it was orchestrated.

“An NBA team that comes to our state makes Louisville a professional city and a professional state,” Calipari said. “What happens is you think it takes away from your program; it only steals some of the media. So instead of always being on the top column, you’re going to share that …”

Of course Calipari would have no problem with an NBA team in Louisville, knowing that a professional franchise would negatively affect UofL basketball. He delights in getting under the skin of Rick Pitino and Louisville fans.

He had been relatively quiet for months, probably because of a column by Rick Bozich, former Courier-Journal columnist now WDRB-TV sports analyst, who wrote in October 2011 that Calipari had a bad case of Pitino envy. This followed a Calipari jibe that UK basketball had no competition in the state.

“I guess he likes doing it, and knows he’ll get a reaction for it,” Bozich said in a follow-up video. “The best things Louisville fans can do is just ignore it.”

Bozich is right, of course, except that a portion of the community fawns on UK basketball and Calipari. This ensures that the topic doesn’t go away for a while, the local sports media thriving on any UofL-UK controversy.

Calipari has been too quiet for too long for his involvement to be spontaneous. Most likely it was orchestrated.

We suspect some current or former elected officials may have encouraged to Calipari to speak out as part of the Louisville Metro administration’s efforts to pressure UofL into renegotiating the lease for the KFC Yum! Center — even if landing an NBA franchise is a remote possibility.

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