If you’re not on Twitter, you might have missed it. Or perhaps you heard about through word of mouth. On Tuesday night, when word of Nerlens Noel’s injury began to filter out, former UK star Derek Anderson tweeted out to Nerlens Noel that he would meet him back in Lexington. And, on Wednesday he did. I can only imagine the words of wisdom that DA was able to impart on the University of Kentucky big man. For those of us old enough to remember the 1996-97 season, that was when Anderson suffered an ACL injury against Auburn, derailing the Cats run to a second consecutive title (yes, they made it back to the title game, but just imagine Anderson playing opposite of Ron Mercer… Wow). Not only was Derek Anderson a star for the Blue and White, but he also played 11 season in the NBA, winning an NBA title for the 2006 Miami Heat, so when he speaks, it’s best to listen.
But this situation got me thinking. Since Cal has arrived in Lexington, he’s been vocal about making this a players first program. And that’s great for the current players, but it’s also great for the former players as well. It was such a special moment at Big Blue Madness when Coach Cal invited members of all 8 national championship teams to re-raise the banner for the 2012 NCAA Title Banner. While we’ve had very recent success, it’s always, always important to remember our deep and rich history.
When Cal reaches out to former head coach Joe B. Hall, you get the feeling that it’s genuine. When he invites former Cats back to Lexington, even guys he didn’t coach, you know it’s for real. More than the wins (which there have been many) and the losses (of which there are surprisingly few), the one thing that makes us Big Blue Nation is that we are all a family. We welcome the coaches and players into our hearts, embracing them unlike any other fan base in America. We are family.
We love our Cats and it’s great to know that in times of distress that they, in turn, love each other.
Thank you, Derek Anderson, for reminding us that we are one Big Blue Family.