Ace Power Couple: Wallipari 02.10.2010

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Click here to View PDF Ace Power Couple 2010 Wallipari. John Wall and Coach Cal
BY HEATHER C. WATSON

Wallipari is Ace’s 2010 Power Couple

Arguably the most famous Power Couple in the Bluegrass, these guys aren’t romantically linked, nor would they characterize themselves as personal friends. Separated by a three-decade age disparity, their relationship is more that of a seasoned mentor and the brilliant prodigy entrusted to his care.
Still, it’s hard to deny that John Wall and John Calipari are a duo that command attention. Like any other high-profile couple, they have captured our collective imagination with their charisma, charm, and talent. Their tremendous acts of charity warm our hearts, and their celebrity friends make us feel cool by association. LeBron James and Barack Obama count themselves among the Power Couple’s legions of fans. You know they must be something special. Calipari’s smart, savvy coaching style, when paired with Wall’s graceful yet dominant style of play, seems virtually unstoppable. Longtime basketball viewers—even non-Wildcat fans — are amazed by the poetic grace with which Cal and Wall cooperate. At their very best, their collaboration is the kind of seldom-seen magic generated when Huston directed Bogart, or Balanchine taught Baryshnikov. The game of basketball reaches awe-inspiring heights when Wall’s effortless shooting highlights Coach Calipari’s famous dribble-drive offense. Sportswriters and bloggers spill tons of ink, both physical and virtual, on our favorite couple, hoping to immortalize the magic they’ve witnessed. “John Wall” is consistently a Twitter trending topic on game day. People love these two. As their fellow celebrity Power Couples would likely advise Cal and Wall (dare I say it—Wallipari?), that adulation will, at times, turn speculative or even truculent.

Not so long ago, our beloved duo was sitting on top of the world, boasting a Number One ranking, a million-dollar charity fundraising event and a even a phone call from the President of the United States. It seemed their names were on everyone’s lips. But, as any tabloid can tell you, bliss is boring while drama moves copy. Mere days later, national media sources began to speculate that, just maybe, there was trouble in paradise. Analysts and color commentators took Wall’s statements of dissatisfaction with his own play to mean that he was unhappy in his relationship with Cal. And, before you could say Brangelina, our Power Couple seemed doomed. Were they facing a Gyllenspoon-style split or the sullen coexistence of TomKat?, we wondered as our Final Four hopes began to fade just a little. John Wall’s recent highlight reel-worthy performances against Ole Miss and LSU disproved these rumors far better than any celebrity publicist could. Even if this Power Couple hit a rocky patch, as rumored, they’ve recovered quickly. Wall is exceeding even Calipari’s highest expectations. The poetry has returned to the game.

And our Power Couple is standing strong. ■

The Envelope Please
By Kevin Faris

At some point we as a city and a state are going to have to stop
giving awards to our favorite Wildcats. (Ace readers Best of
Lex 2009: Coach Cal; Best Twitter; best thing to happen to UK; best
Facebook Page; and…best taqueria?)

I’ll admit, it won’t be easy, especially if they keep doing amazing
things. And while the NBA tries to bill itself as the place where
“amazing happens,” the citizens of the Commonwealth know the
truth; the address for amazing is the University of Kentucky. That’s
why the 2010 Power Couple is John Calipari and John Wall.
Why not?

Think of what these two have been able to accomplish
in the past few months, and I’m not even talking about the 22-
1 record on the basketball court. Calipari was behind the effort
that ended with over $1 million dollars going to Haiti. John Wall
was complimented directly by the President of the United States of
America. John Calipari wrote a best selling book. John Wall started
a dance craze that has swept the city, the state, the nation, and
the world. John Calipari has used his twitter account, and its 1.1
million followers, to promote charities and local business. John
Wall has reshaped the idea of the “one and done” mercenary
(sorry Bobby Knight) by achieving one of the highest GPAs on the
team and embracing the role of a college student-athlete. Calipari
and Wall have seen the best and worst of the UK fan base in their
short time here, and they both still manage to smile. I might add,
that Wall’s smile, especially after a highlight dunk or pass, is one
of the most enjoyable aspects of this team.

So, what’s left to accomplish? A lot. But the reason we keep
giving awards to Coach Cal and to Wall, before either win
anything as members of the UK team, is a reason that would fly in
the face of what the rest of the world thinks about UK fans. In the
wake of Tubby and Billy G., how many times were we all labeled
as fans who expect national titles every year, entitled jerks who
did not appreciate what we had? Too often we were painted with
a broad brush, and while those fans do exist, most of us just wanted
fun, excitement, and yes, wins. And as a Power Couple, that is
what Calipari and Wall have brought us. Not to diminish the off or
on court accomplishments of previous coaches and players, but
Calipari has embraced the celebrity aspect of being one of the
highest profile college coaches, and Wall has delicately handled
being the most celebrated draft prospect since LeBron while being
a team player and leader.
The only question that remains is how many more awards will
we give this Power Couple? I think I speak for all UK fans when I
say we all hope many, many more. ■



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