UK fan and NC resident Jim Mahan won’t be in Las Vegas to see the Heels and Wildcats play (don’t weep for him–he’s seen his share of these teams squaring off), but he wouldn’t miss watching the game for anything. Why? Because he’s from Kentucky, and following UK hoops is what they do.
In a lengthy chat we discuss the UNC-UK series and how UK fans view UNC, plus Mahan shares stories about Rex Chapman, Tayshaun Prince, Tubby Smith and the upper level crowd at Rupp Arena.
4:18 – Jim explains that while the UK-Duke/Laettner hate gets talked up, many UK fans see UNC as the Wildcats’ foil historically
9:55 – “coal miners spending their pension on the one ticket to see Kentucky vs. Hofstra in Brooklyn and take the whole fam–that’s a real thing and it happens every year all the time.”
12:05 – “Look, man, y’all got the nice side of the Appalachian mountains”
16:40 – Jim recounts a story about Rex Chapman winning an impromptu dunk contest in Chapel Hill
21:00 – Jim’s friends learn what life is like for visitors in the upper deck of Rupp Arena. (“They’re not drinking…but they don’t really need to…”)
26:55 – Jim shares why Tony Parker wasn’t his best for one game of the 2005 NBA Finals
31:30 – “To be the coach at Kentucky, you can’t be like ‘well, I just want to come in and coach basketball.’ Forget it. You’re done.”
33:20 – Whenever they may come, Jim points out how the transitions for UK and UNC from Calipari and Roy to their respective next head coaches differs from K’s transition at Duke
38:26 – when the UK coaching staff used knowledge of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s (né Chris Jackson) neurological disorder to guard him
42:00 – Jim has a sweet collection of sports gear and memorabilia–we talk about some of his favorites
44:32 – we walk down memory lane of some past UNC-UK match-ups…and ones that never were