John Calipari has been in fine form this March. Whether he’s flexing with some unique home decor or tweeting about scaring bears and pooping in the woods, he’s livened up the dead days in between NCAA tournament games.
And on Saturday, in between Kentucky’s Sweet 16 win over Houston and its Elite Eight bout with Auburn, Calipari delivered the best – and most absurd – headline yet.
At his day-before news conference in Kansas City, first he pretended to forget Charles Barkley’s name. Then, out of nowhere: “I peed on his statue down there, just so you know.”
Um ... what?
John Calipari says Bruce Pearl has done a good job getting people at Auburn "absolutely excited." As for Auburn alum Charles Barkley? "I peed on his statue down there." pic.twitter.com/bEzX0ZcODN
— Kyle Boone (@Kyle__Boone) March 30, 2019
Yep, you heard that right. Cal was asked about what Auburn coach Bruce Pearl has done to turn around the program. A sentence or two into his answer, he arrived at Barkley.
“Well, [Pearl has] gotten a program where people are absolutely excited,” Calipari said. “And [former Auburn coach] Sonny Smith back in the day had it rolling. He had that guy – what's his name? – Charles, what's his last name? That big guy with the big head. What's his name?”
Cal turned to his players, sitting on the podium to his right. They laughed. They were clearly entertained:
Then Cal delivered Saturday’s best line.
“Oh, Charles Barkley,” he joked. “I peed on a statue down there, just so you know.”
Then he went on to give three more paragraphs about how Pearl has revitalized Auburn. But only after delivering that one line that will take talk away from basketball, and take a tiny bit of pressure off his players. Calipari, like so many top college basketball coaches, isn’t just a tactician; he’s a master psychologist as well.
Of course, we can’t be 100 percent sure this is a joke. This is John Calipari, after all. He’s a pretty unique character. But urinating on the Barkley statue outside Auburn Arena? That seems a bit outlandish even for him.
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