Kentucky’s John Calipari credits his coaching success to skin color

August 28, 2020

Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari has had a successful career in both the college and NBA ranks, and on Wednesday he credited that success to White privilege.

Calipari said during a video conference call with reporters that his skin color has helped him get to where he is today, according to ESPN.

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“I’m White-privileged, even though I grew up the way I grew up,” he said. “I was still White, which means I had an advantage. … I had one pair of tennis shoes. But that didn’t matter.”

Calipari was born in Moon Township, Pa., in 1959 – about 12 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Growing up, the town had between 10,000 and 20,000 residents, with a majority of the population being White.

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He said he had talked to his Wildcats players about the race issues going on in the country.

“I ended [a recent team meeting] with, ‘I want to know — opinions, talks, speaking, showing — what action can you take as a group to make a difference in maybe one person’s life,’” he said. “What can we do that you can do together, or individually, that we can make a difference with people?”

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He added that players have registered to vote and that athletics officials have helped with mail-in voting.