If any shred of doubt remained whether Kentucky is all the way back, it officially vanished with Magic Johnson's appearance at Rupp Arena on Thursday night.
Escorted to mid-court by two cheerleaders to serve as the traditional celebrity "Y" in the K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y spell-out, Johnson threw in something extra to the delight of the Wildcats faithful. The Lakers legend busted out the John Wall dance, mimicking the Kentucky freshman's signature wrist-twisting move that he unveiled at the Wildcats' midnight madness celebration more than four months ago.
If Kentucky is college basketball's most talked-about team this season, then Wall is certainly the Wildcats' crossover star. The dance he unintentionally popularized became such a nationwide phenomenon this winter that a Raleigh rapper made a song about it, an actor on ABC's "Cougar Town" performed it on the show and a facebook page devoted to it now has almost 70,000 members.
Johnson, in Kentucky to support a bill that would raise the high school dropout age in the state from 16 to 18, attended Kentucky's victory over South Carolina as a guest of Gov. Steven Beshear. Earlier in the day, Johnson set aside his Michigan State allegiances and cast his player of the year vote for Wall, telling the Lexington Herald-Leader that the freshman is "the best player and the best guard in the country."
"I love him in the last couple of minutes because he always makes the right play to win the game – defensively, offensively, getting his team into the right, proper offense," Johnson said. "John Wall is incredible."