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Vaught’s note: Kentucky fan Mike Sims took exception to a recent story by Dennis Berman, the Wall Street Journal Marketplace Editor, about “Kentucky Basketball’s New Death Star” that took what Sims felt were unfair shots at UK and coach John Calipari. One also has to wonder about the Wall Street Journal even acknowledging that Berman is a “longtime Louisville fan” at the bottom of the story. Sims sent this response to Berman that he shared with me that I thought you would enjoy.

By MIKE SIMS

Most of BBN has come to the realization that jaded journalism such as yours are simply part of the package that is now UK basketball. It comes with the territory and is actually complimentary in nature.  Everything from veiled negative innuendo (Pat Forde) to outright disdain of UK hoops (Dan Dakich and Pete Thamel) moves the needle, prompts responses such as the one your reading and perpetuates those ever so valuable clicks of the mouse. Congratulations.

In spite of your assertion otherwise, my memory is vivid and includes the past, present and the perpetual future….Elite 8 (2010)….Final Four (2011)….National Champions (2012)…NIT (2013)…best recruiting class in the history of college basketball (2014). Sure, I could go back further, but for the purposes of your agenda, it’s really all about the era of Cal.

In good conscience, can you name one fan base, athletic director or head coach not named Mike Krzyzewski that wouldn’t instantly trade places with Cal since his arrival in the Commonwealth? Why is it so difficult to accept that Cal has nurtured and developed a dynamic in Lexington that heretofore never existed? Anywhere. Period.

From day one, he has fully embraced the pageantry and rich history of the UK basketball program and has masterfully integrated his own brand of ingenuity and creativity like no one has ever done in college athletics. Are we to believe that Pitino would turn away the likes of Drake, LeBron and Jay Z. Further still, would he not readily welcome those players that Cal has arriving this fall or falls previous?

Sure, I’m disappointed about this year’s team missing out on the NCAA Tournament. What Kentucky fan would be thrilled with a nationally televised loss in the NIT to Bobby Mo?  Although the cool factor and moment in the national spotlight for those kids in Pittsburgh and their mid-major program was awesome and undeniable. But that too speaks to what our program is capable of doing.

For you to characterize this year’s Kentucky team as “wilting beneath the expectations” while neglecting to mention the season ending injury to Nerlens Noel is utterly absurd and derelict on your part as a journalist. Maybe it’s your memory that requires calibration.

Where is it written that the UK fan base isn’t allowed to be disappointed? In the midst of that disappointment, why should UK fans be required to temper their enthusiasm and/or apologize for beginning to turn the page in eager anticipation of the recruiting equivalent of Halley’s comet that is scheduled to spectacularly crash in Lexington this fall?

The answer is simple. What we owe you or anyone else is this…nothing.  No apologies for celebrity friends of the program, facilities that will make your jaw drop and certainly no apologies for why our program’s success exceeds that of your program. No apology for our disappointment in the 2013 season or for the unbridled enthusiasm for the ride that awaits in 2014.

Doesn’t mean I like it, but no one can legitimately argue that Louisville hasn’t had an outstanding year.  I’m sure the Cards and their faithful enjoyed their success at Rupp as much as UK and BBN enjoyed its invasion of the Yum Center one year ago. Touché.

However, why suddenly has Rick Pitino been given any credible latitude to look down his nose and make snide remarks in the direction of Lexington?  He alone has a stranglehold on developing teams with intensity and developing potential? Michael Kidd-Gilchrest and Darius Miller may take exception with that assertion.

Pitino has admitted he made a mistake by leaving  Lexington for Boston. However, that decision is not the one that has aged him 20 years in the last five, forced him to exile his own son away from coaching alongside him in Louisville and decimated his credibility as a recruiter and as a man. Pitino can coach until he’s 100 and those miserable facts won’t change or be forgotten.

Yet somehow, because the planets have aligned in 2013 and his team advances beyond Cal’s for the first time…suddenly he’s qualified to impart his infinitive wisdom on Cal’s enlightened methodology of program building and program management? Please spare us the illegitimate insight.

Go ahead and commence with your arguments asserting Cal is dirty.  We’ve heard them all.  They only offer further evidence that it’s lonely at the top.  If and when those accusations are ever proven during his tenure at Kentucky you can say you told us so.  Between now and when that day arrives, we’ll be enjoying an unprecedented ride that’s sure to envied by all college basketball fans who don’t count themselves amongst the members of BBN.

So continue on in search of those clicks.  I believe you know down deep where they reside in college hoops and why.

55 Responses to Kentucky fan takes Wall Street Journal writer to task over ‘Kentucky Basketball’s New Death Star’ article

  • YVETTE says:

    YEAH!!!!! GREAT LETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Larry Pup says:

    Great response by Mike Sims. Just many reasons he touched upon in his response to Berman why I can’t find any reason to root for UL, ever. GO BLUE!!!

  • Mack says:

    WOW! Just Great! I wonder if Mr Sims paused long enough to take a breath.

  • UKFMLY says:

    Great response to the S O S

  • BobbyBlue says:

    Dayum…Wow , what an intelligent well thought out reply ! ……just when I’d started feeling guilty,over my hatred for DaVille,and hoping fervently that they’d lose,even to the hated Puke team,if they play,in the Elite 8……this creepy, agenda, burdened,columnist at the Wall St Journal, no less,joins the Tipturds,Fordes and Thameltoes, of the media,and pops up with this jealous,unnecessary,unprovoked,use of his station to attack Cal,all of BBN and everything about the Ky program….serving instantlyto bring me back to the reality,of I’d pull for the Russians against Loserville !

  • KYWILDCATGIRL says:

    WOW! I LOVE this response Mr. Sims. You sure told him a thing or two! That article Berman wrote should line the bottom of a bird cage, that’s all it’s worth. All I can say to Berman is that BBN has Cal’s back. Cal is a good man who does good things for lots of people. What does Pinito do for anyone other than himself? I’d like to know. GO BIG BLUE!

  • Texascat says:

    Very well written. Thanks Mike and thanks for sharing Larry. Go Big Blue!

  • Theresa Crow says:

    What a fantastic retort to the shoddy Berman journalism! There is no way to hide the fact that Berman is flat out jealous and Mr. Sims just called him on it. Thanks, Larry, for sharing it with us and thanks, Mr. Sims, for so eloquently stating what all of the BBN felt.

  • Jen says:

    AMEN!! Well written and ever word truth!

  • UKFAN197TONE says:

    Well played sir…well played. I like to tell the people that claim Cal is cheating, “please hold your breath until he’s found guilty of any thing.” I know that may seem harsh, but seriously, what moron is going to try that. Ha

  • Mack says:

    Did Mr Sims send it to him via email or did he place a comment under the article if it is a comment I would link and thubs up or add a supporting response although he pretty much nailed it. Don’t want to link to the article as a display of support for the author’s “work”, just to support Mr. Sims.

  • TrueBlueJohn says:

    There used to be a term for articles like that, one that is rarely used anymore, the reason being is that too many of the sports journalists practice it. The term is “Yellow Journalism.” It basically is spreading garbage to harm someone with complete disregard for the facts. People like Pete Thamel and now Dennis Berman use it with regularity.

    • Love SEC says:

      It was a great response to “Yellow Journalism”. Very well written. Thanks Mike.

      The WSJ is a rag. Useful only to line bird-cages. Their Sports coverage is poor.
      Their Financial coverage only “Follows the Crowd”. And we know how dangerous that has been.

  • Dale Castle says:

    I can’t wait to hear the response you get, but I won’t hold my breath waiting :) Great letter, and I am so glad that Larry posted it here for us to read. Thank you!

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow! Hats off to you Mr. Sims, you’re quite a writer-jolly well done my good man! Speaking of yellow journalism, I noted that there is a little of that in Seth Davis’ >Hoops Thoughts column today:

    Smith’s firing, frankly, was more understandable. When Minnesota { lured } Smith from Kentucky in 2007, it paid him as well as any other coach in America. Yet, Minnesota’s win over UCLA was Smith’s first NCAA tournament victory in his six years at the school. In the past, the Gophers were riddled by injuries, but that was not the case this year. By any standard, this team underachieved, and there was no indication that things were about to get better. I like Tubby. I think he’s a good coach witih high integrity, but at some point a school is entitled to get a return on its investment.

    Dickie V………..Here, all these years you deceived me—the man was actually “lured” from Kentucky! I guess UK wasn’t allowed to let him be “lured” since he won one NCAA title–we got a return on our investment???

  • Karen Sprinkle says:

    Wow! Awesome job, Mike. And thanks for posting it, Larry Vaught!

  • paul reynolds says:

    Great comments…………….. it’s a shame they are on such a small venue.

  • King Ghidora says:

    I’ve said it here before. Yellow journalism has started wars just to sell papers. I like to think that many people have learned to laugh at their petty grievances but too many buy it hook, line and sinker. The sad part is the NCAA falls for it too or they use it to trash programs like UK.

    Still people from this part of the world have had their successes in recent years fighting back against the hateful NE corridor media. That dreadful excuse for a program that CBS was about to produce called “The Real Beverly Hillbillies’ was halted by a maelstrom of a backlash. CBS actually cancelled the proposed series although it wasn’t too long before MTV produced “Buckwild” despite protests. But then they were trying to prove that hillbillies were the ultimate counterculture rebels. The cast proved it themselves though with a string of arrests that slowed production of the program.

    In short, the NE hates Kentucky and West Virginia for that matter. Both lack support from the south because both were neutral in the Civil War so they are easy targets. it’s funny how the wild west was romanticized but the first edition of the wild west was made into a sick joke. But the thing that really sticks in their craw, and Mike highlighted this oh so well, is that UK owns the sport of college basketball despite the repeated attempts by the media and the NCAA to rip it from their claws. They have failed for almost 70 years now. You’d think they would realize at some point they are just fanning the flames in Lexington. It’s our game and we aren’t about to give it up. :D

  • GrampyBlue says:

    Mike Sims for president!

  • M. Sims says:

    Ha…thanks.

  • Tracy Bean says:

    I would bet my house Rick Pitino would NOT change places with CAL! I love his digs at Pitino and to think I followed this link because of a FB post that called the author a “level headed Fan”

    Fact #1 What Pitino has done off the court has in no way affected his ability to recruit nor did he “exile” as this moron states his son

    Fact #2 Two programs have suffered through NCAA sanctions as a result of things that occurred under Cal

    Fact #3 Cal is likely just as immoral off court as Pitino has been. However if he is we would never know it like with Gilliespie and Sutton’s alcoholism the University of Kentucky makes sure they keep their coaches indiscretions quiet.. Pretty sure “damage control” is a budget line item at UK

    Fact #4 Louisville consistently puts more fans in the seats at home games throughout the season. Wonder why that is? BIG BLUE COUNTRY is much larger than the area that encompasses the Cardinal faithful…maybe UK fans cannot afford a ticket? Just pointing to the obvious

    Fact #5 UK fans are incapable of seeing the weaknesses in their own programs, Sutton, Gillespie etc. People stood behind them until the day the University fires them so which are you pot or kettle?

    Fact #6 Your team is home sitting on the couch, so what its done in the past and what you envision it will do in the future mean very little to anyone except your fellow fans who drink the BIG BLUE KoolAide!

    • TrueBlueJohn says:

      Pardon me. I had to get up off the floor from laughing so hard at your” facts”. I shouldn’t give your “facts” any credence by replying to your post. For your information, UK has led the country in attendence 16 out of the last 17 years, and I believe those statistics reflect home attendence.

      As for point #6, we are sitting home this year watching on TV. Louisville has an excellent chance of winning #3 this year, a great feat that we accomplished in 1951. We did come off our 8th NCAA championship, and fully expect to hang #9 next year.

    • M. Sims says:

      Thanks….I’m sure all Louisville fans are proud of your post.

    • Kokamo Joe says:

      Your facts are a stretch. Calipari has never been accused of immorality. I will concede that times have changed to the point that immorality does not have the stain as it once did, but it is not truthful to accused Calipari of immorality. Most of your remaining “facts” are just as ridiculous.

      It is true that Sutton and Gillispie were well known to be alcoholics and were abided by the school even though UK had once had an iron clad drug and alcohol policy which said that players guilty of violation of policy would be taken off the team. I make no apology. The name of the game is winning and IMO either coach could have coached almost any place as long as they won…just as Pitino stays at UL because he is a winner. Fans tend to support flawed coaches simply because he coaches their team.

      The Cards are a sweet sixteen team which many go further. The Cats won it all last year. Beware of kicking the Cat which is about to become Sabre tooth tiger. It could come back to bite you in the butt.

    • UKFAN107TONE says:

      I don’t know why I’m bothering with a reply to you Tracy Bean (I think I know you), but you own your house? That’s fantastic. You should be proud of that, not many people actually “own” a house, unless it’s a Mobile home. The rest of your comments are sour grapes. Very sour. You’re right, RP wouldn’t trade places with Calipari. I guess you have never watched the youtube video of RP saying that he wished he would have never left THE ROMAN EMPIRE OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL.

      OOPS!

  • Gene T. says:

    Berman is a total idiot, which is typical for a UL fan

  • Jim Boyers says:

    Well written reply to what was an obvious trolling job by a complete idiot. I mean he’s a Loserville fan, so duh.

    That being said, why does anyone in the state of Kentucky still read a word that is printed by The God-Aweful Street Journal or the New York Slimes? I will give a Kentucky resident a pass on reading the Loserville papers, but they shouldn’t be reading a single word by Fat Bore-D. Acknowledging these idiots exist is what keeps them employed and able to spew the ridiculous trash that comes out of their keyboards and their mouths.

    • Jim Boyers says:

      By the way, I did NOT read the God-aweful Street article, nor will I. I have never read a word by Pete Lame-fool either. I have read some of Bore-D’s stuff, but I’m not proud of it.

      These entities will NEVER get the boost my mouse finger would give them.

      • King Ghidora says:

        Same here Jim. I won’t be reading anything the Bull Sheet Journal puts out for a very long time in fact.

  • TheProfessor says:

    And then someone wants to know why any Big Blue Fan would not hope for success on any level for Louisville (except when they play UK, as the caveat always gets tagged on).

    BS. Anything that advances that program is bad for UK. The annual series with these bums is bad for UK in football and basketball. These series gave that program a platform once each year in football and in basketball to stand on “equal” terms with the Big Blue.

    BS. End that insanity at the earliest opportunity.

    • King Ghidora says:

      What’s really funny is that as bad as it is for UK to give the Cards a chance to make their bones playing the Cats it’s even worse for UL because they have failed miserably to do it. Yes they did ok in football last year but on the whole in basketball (and KY is a basketball state) they have not even come close to being on UK’s level. Even during UK’s worst period in 80 years they failed to really compete. And now that UK is back to being the gold standard UL will really get nailed to the floor by the Cats. There will be no making the big time on the back of UK victories. Rupp tried to tell them it would only hurt them to play UK. They didn’t listen. They still don’t listen. Jealousy will do that to you I suppose. I really don’t know. There’s no one for UK to be jealous of in basketball. :)

      And I see UK football stepping up to the level of the real SEC the way things are going right now. UL will of course sink to the level of ACC football. It’s been a while since there has been any good ACC football teams. Yes Florida St. was fairly good but they haven’t been a title contender in about 14 years now. And with Bowden gone I don’t see them getting back to the top any time soon. And there’s no way UL could have matched them at any time in their history anyway.

      Let’s put it this way. There is a lot of room to move up in the SEC. But even if you’re at the top of the ACC in football it doesn’t mean you’re good or anything. Until UL gets teams like Alabama and LSU on their schedules they will have little chance of becoming a true national power.

      I really resented the government mandating that the two schools play basketball every year. It was a dumb thing to do to split the state the way they did. At one time I was ok with wanting UL to win when UK didn’t. Not now. I want to crush the Cards every year now and that means watching them sink to ever lower levels. They have had 2 decent years in a row but they still aren’t on UK’s level and I want it to stay that way. I don’t want the Chapman’s and the Teague’s choosing Loserville over UK and if it appears UL is on the same level then UK might lose some of those prospects. To heck with that. To heck with Ashley and to heck with Rex.

    • Tracy Bean says:

      Gave U of L a platform to stand on in football? really? The only hope UK is EVER going to have for a successful football season and chance at a MAJOR BCS Bowl is if they leave the SEC…That is not the fault of the kids or the coaches but the fault of the administration who runs the Athletic Program there with an “all our eggs in one basket mentality”…I am actually a UK almuni, attending school there is what made me a U of L fan. Here is why, my freshman year in college was ’85-’86, I also participated in athletics at UK btw our team was treated like 2nd class citizens we got thrown scraps by the athletic department “UK IS BASKETBALL no one cares about any female sport except BASKETBALL” was the message LOUD AND CLEAR. I saw first hand the hatred for U of L, I heard the racial slurs, YES in the 80′s a lot of UK Alumni where still total racists if they could have resurrected Rupp and brought him back they would have… When I would come home U of L fans didn’t hate UK or UK fans but after that next season when U of L failed to make the tournament as reigning champs the way UK fans behaved so happy, rejoicing, ecstatic U of L didn’t make the dance, and that set the tone for how things are today…if you don’t like the way U of L fans are blame our “good ole boy” predecessors because you are reaping what they sewed! I have tried to stay objective over the years, I go back to UK for certain alumni events from time to time but UK hasn’t changed.. back then anyone who spent anytime in the athletic buildings at UK KNEW Coaches had problems with alcohol, coaches had indiscretions with female students etc and it was all brushed under the rug, our team saw a knock down drag out between the AD and a coach one day over the coaches behavior and we were told “keep your mouths shut it will reflect poorly on the University”I hope I am conveying my message clearly…I don’t know maybe UK fans don’t realize the hypocrisy they seem to spew from someone who has seen the inside let me say, IT IS THERE!

      • BobbyBlue says:

        Hey Bean …If you are so happy with UL,WTH are you posting in such a jealous rage, on this UK dominated site ? Hard for me to understand why you don’t, just join the other 15 UL fans on a UL site…I suppose they have one someplace…but maybe not !
        Oh,ok….you’re striking out because you’re more jealous of UK, then you are proud of Quickies boys,and his modest achievements over 12 + years,and gosh throwing in the tired, race card was really a coup…that alone made me go Huhh ! !

        • Larry Pup says:

          See what I mean boys and girls, typical UL behavior. Been that way for years. And some of you big blue fans have indicated you would root for them, including Judd. You gotta be kidding me! Bean is a good example of a Louisville fan. This idiot tries to lend credibility to her ranting by stating that she attended UK. Bean you are the worst of the worst. A traitor. You’re story is hard to believe. Somebody like you that is that bitter is sad to see. You have voiced your opinion. We don’t buy it so hit the road, and may I add “GO OREGON!!”

  • MikeF says:

    Mr. Berman is writing his last hurrah from the Big East…an entire Conference that pimped itself out for the bucks. It is gone, where will the NCAA get 8 teams next year? All of a sudden the “best” conference is stepping down to join other Conferences…how can that be? What does Mr. Berman have to look forward to? Let’s see how the Cards handle the ACC. As Mr. Sims hinted , envy is the root of bitterness. Kick that big Cat while he is sleeping, he will awake soon with a fury! That was another article reinforcing the entire nation’s fear of the Big Blue Machine. Let us pull this article out next year in March, oops, it is not worthy of the archives.

  • Anonymous says:

    Are you sure that you’re not posing as Dick Tracy???

  • Kokamo Joe says:

    I have read Mr. Sims’s response and the Berman article. For years I have wondered why so many of our fan base get upset by the press. I agree we don’t always get the best press, but that goes with the territory when you are king of the sport.

    As I remember it the term death star was the ultimate weapon in Star Wars movies. Berman described our recruits as “best in 4 of 5 positions”, NBA ready, and having 6 McDonald’s All Americans. Folks, if that is not a basketball death star, I don’t know what is.

    I see his statement “wilted beneath expectations not met” as being true. We did expect more. Sims laments the fact that Berman did not follow that statement up with a note that Noel was injured. It would be wise for us to acknowledge that our team was underachieving before Noel was injured. His remark about the hollowness of the one and done system was a bit strong, but we must now recognize that number one recruiting classes do not always result in a national championship. It was a bit hollow this year.

    Berman mentions Calipari’s friends…NBA stars and rap stars. That is well documented and we should be highly pleased that our coach has the connections to help him recruit this and future “Death Stars.”

    Louisville in Rupp? Why should they not have come and why should they not have celebrated. We were in Yum last year. We celebrated.

    Pitino’s quote…Pitino has said that his kids play for Louisville and that they graduate their players. Well, they do. Berman says that Pitino has said that UL develops potential and intensity. Why does Sim assume that Pitino is attacking UK when he is just talking about his own team?

    I bring up these points for a simple reason. WE ARE THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, THE ULTIMATE BASKETBALL PROGAM IN THE COUNTRY. WE DON’T NEED TO SEEK OUT ANY AND EVERY ARTICLE THAT MENTIONS THIS PROGRAM AND SPIN IT SO THAT WE CAN FEEL INSULTED. Not every TV commentator, writer, and LHL writer lives to poke fun at UK. Personally, I read what I find, and ignore that that I don’t agree with and realize that Calipari has delivered a great team for next year and no amount of real or imagined criticism can do one earthly thing about it.

    • Larry Pup says:

      Joe you amaze me. You always take the side of our critics. Then you come back with your insinuation about being UK’s No. 1 fan. This article was a slap in UK’s face and you know it, and we know it. You sound a little like Ole Tracy Your rhetoric is getting a little old for my taste.

      • Kokamo Joe says:

        I have never claimed to be the number one fan and I have never claimed that those who disagree with me are not great fans. It is just that I have too much pride in the program to allow myself to be drawn in to the constant claim by some that UK is the whipping boy of the entire nation.

        I reread the Berman article and I listened to the Berman interview. He was trying to draw a comparison to the coaching systems of the two coaches. His conclusions were correct. Calipari does reload every year and Pitino does build his team. He is also correct that we get the very best recruits and Pitino gets players that Calipari would not recruit. His example of Russ Smith is good. Calipari would never recruit this player, yet he has developed into a very good college player. Perhaps that is an important part of the systems. Pitino will never send the same number of kids to the NBA as Calipari, but he will develop good college players. Only problem for him is that the younger, but future pros are better, most years…way better.

        Berman did claim that our fan base is plugged into the future; that we pay a lot of attention to projected lottery picks and kids that Calipari has or will sign. Of course we do. That is part of the fun of being a UK fan. Larry writes countless articles about our future Cats and those that Calipari is recruiting. Today’s LHL has a story about Wiggins. Do we have a plug and play program and Berman claims? You bet! And Calipari will welcome the best class ever as soon as this semester is over. And we will read about them all summer. What’s wrong with that, and why should be be offended by the truth?

        Is calling UK the Death Star of College basketball a slur of the program? No, it is a compliment! Who could not want the most powerful weapon in all of college basketball.

        The article is a simple comparison of the two systems, and IMO it claims that the Calipari system is the best in college basketball, hence the Dark Star quote.

        Remember we when it means the BBN does mean that every one has to agree.

        • Larry Pup says:

          Whatever Joe. I didn’t appreciate Berman’s article as did the UK fans on this blog. Mike Sims got it right in his response. Berman is a UL fan and Pitino supporter is all that’s about. Your blind if you don’t see that. I don’t buy your logic Joe. Sorry.

          • Kokamo Joe says:

            Calipari proves his points on the court. Calipari proves his character by the way he conducts himself. No article can detract from this program. No article can stop the steamroller that is UK and Calipari.

            Sims is an example of a fan who walks around with his heart on his sleeve, always looking for someone to sling a slur his way.

            A perfect example is this Sims quote “Go ahead and commence with your argument asserting Cal is dirty. We’ve heard it all before.” No personal attack was included in the article.

  • LindaS says:

    Dang, good thing evil twin sister didn’t see that article, she would not have been so nice. Great job, Mr. Sims. Sock it to them. Berman must look like the south end of a north bound mule, northbround from little slick quick rick’s bordello back to NYC.

    • Larry Pup says:

      The Berman guy writes a slanted article about the two programs, our guy responds with a awesome response, and Kokamo Joe slams our guy. You are the only one on this blog who has seen it your way Joe. You know this guy is a Louisville fan, right? I think you might be a little envious of Mike Sims and the accolades he received from readers’ on VV.

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