In 2012, winning championships takes an odd road to paradise. Hopefully Lane Kiffin’s GPS is working.
Each year in sports represents something. You know, sort of like how the Chinese calendar has its year of the ox, tiger, rabbit, snake and, everyone’s favorite, dragon. Each animal holds some sort of significance, basically dictating how the year will pan out. Sports, in a roundabout manner, is the same way. 2010 introduced the phrase “I’m taking my talents to …” 2011 was all about lockouts. And at least so far, 2012 is all about the new way to win championships.
John Calipari won his first college basketball national title this year. Long known as arguably this generation’s finest recruiter, Cal was just as known for never winning the big one as he was for leaving programs in ruins of paperwork and scandal. His exits from both UMass and Memphis will never sit right with some people. His 2008 national championship loss to Mario Chalmers and Kansas was a black eye on a career that was equal parts accomplished and mafioso. Yet, after assembling the college version of Voltron at Kentucky this past season, Calipari finally got over the hump. He put his entire starting five into the NBA and is now preparing to re-up with another eye-popping class at Kentucky.
Then there’s LeBron James. His story is told so much he actually may receive his own chapter in the next installment of Encyclopedia Britannica. His exit from Cleveland became the poster example of how not to handle free agency. Once the most popular player in basketball, LBJ was ripped apart to the extent no athlete before him was. He failed in the Finals in 2011, thus causing the questions about his desire to win to reach code-red terror levels. Then, he actually won a NBA championship the following year and the entire world saw the collective weight lifted off his shoulders.
So, if you’re keeping count, that’s two villains in the world of sports. Two championships within two months of each other. Coincidence? Possibly so, but if things occur in threes, then maybe this trend of “heels trolling America” continues for one more (un)lucky guy. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Lane Kiffin.