UK Men's Basketball

UK legends raise funds for hurricane relief, lower expectations of high-flying highlights

'Victory' as former coach Joe B. Hall coaches winning team at Legends game

Former UK mens basketball coach Joe B. Hall coaches a team and signs autographs with other past UK mens basketball players during The Legends game and the UK Alumni Charity Game at Rupp Arena Thursday evening.
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Former UK mens basketball coach Joe B. Hall coaches a team and signs autographs with other past UK mens basketball players during The Legends game and the UK Alumni Charity Game at Rupp Arena Thursday evening.

Kevin Grevey, the All-American who led Kentucky to the 1975 Final Four, almost didn’t make it to the court for UK basketball’s Legends Game Friday night.

As Grevey told it during warmups, he had barely entered Rupp Arena when a security guard stopped him.

“Where are you going?” the security guard demanded to know.

“I’m one of the players,” Grevey told him.

To which the guard said, “Yeah, right.”

The guard made Grevey, who is 64, show him identification.

“That right there said it all,” Grevey said with a big smile.

The toll time takes on memories, legacies, joints and tendons was on display. Of course, the event’s main purpose was to raise money for charities rather than serve as a stage for former UK players to relive glory days. UK Coach John Calipari said the event -- and the entry fees from his Fantasy Camp -- would raise more than $1 million for charities.

Between games, Calipari told the crowd that $150,000 of those funds would be donated to the Red Cross for hurricane relief in Houston.

Among the charities expected to benefit from the event were St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital ($110,000), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation ($35,000), Lexington Humane Society, Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky ($15,000), Miracle League of Wilmington ($50,000), EverFi ($100,000),Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County ($50,000), Samaritan’s Feet ($100,000), Connecticut Burn Care Foundation ($10,000) and 4 Paws for Ability ($50,000).

Many of the former UK players pooh-poohed the idea of defying time.

Kenny “Sky” Walker, who turned 53 the previous Friday, said he would be earth-bound. A dunk, which Grevey suggested would thrill the crowd of about 10,000, was out of the question, Walker said.

Jack Givens, whose introduction prompted a “Gooooose” from fans who recall UK’s 1978 national championship, had a telling answer when asked if he still had it.

“Am I expected to?” he said.

The Legends game included at least one moment that recalled days of youth. Shagari Alleyne, perhaps UK’s tallest player ever, found himself in position to one-hand a rebound through the rim. He immediately turned and gave his bench a menacing look. Calipari, who sat at the end of the bench, convulsed in laughter.

The second game featured ex-Cats of a more recent vintage. This included several current NBA players, including Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray and DeMarcus Cousins.

Clearly, defense was not the order of the night. The teams made six of their first seven shots (all three-pointers).

The many dunks were exceeded only by the smiles as the players put on a demonstration rather than a competition. Those who watched the solar eclipse in Western Kentucky earlier in the week surely would have wished traffic flowed as freely as drivers into lane got to the rim.

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