Archive for Sunday, September 25, 2011

Legends provide relief

September 25, 2011


Legends of the Phog postgame press conference

Bill Self, Paul Pierce, Mario Chalmers and Larry Brown addressed the media after the Legends of the Phog alumni scrimmage Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Related document

Legends of the Phog box score ( .PDF )

For the past few weeks, on a very public stage, Kansas University had been reduced to the role of second-class citizen because of the turbulent conference realignment talk that, at times, left KU in the very unfamiliar position of feeling like an outsider.

Saturday, everything seemed right again.

In front of 16,300 rabid fans, 23 former Kansas basketball players returned to Allen Fieldhouse to deliver the kind of performance that reminded the KU faithful where their school ranked in college athletics.

“This was good for the soul,” KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said.

In the short term, the Legends of the Phog game gave us all a break from talking about the future of the Big 12. In the long term, it’s an event that will be talked about for ages.

“This is truly remarkable. This is unreal,” said Darnell Valentine, an All-American in 1981 who ranks fourth on KU’s all-time assists list. “Are we just crazy in Kansas about our basketball or what? This is a blessing, and we are all feeling the love. Thank you so much.”

The game itself had a little bit of everything. Part Globetrotters, part Late Night, part NBA All-Star game. It also included the one common denominator that led all of these guys to KU during the past four decades — competitive fire.

While the first half was more of a feel-good fest, the players picked it up a notch in the second half. Bodies banged, former teammates battled for rebounds and a little defense showed up.

As the game clock ticked under five minutes to play, one look was all it took to see that no one on the floor wanted to lose. In the end, no one did. Thanks to the kind of clutch shots we’ve come to expect from Paul Pierce, who hit a three for the lead with five seconds left, and, later, Mario Chalmers, who appropriately drained a three to tie it inside the final second, the Jayhawks, old and new, played to a 111-all tie.

While the contest was enough to make the night memorable — so many different generations of some of the greatest KU basketball teams on the floor together — the between-the-action festivities brought it to another level.

During one time out, the members of the 1952, 1988 and 2008 national championship teams who made it back were introduced to the crowd. During others, Chalmers and Pierce manned the mic and several fresh and nostalgic videos played on the video board.

“I don’t think any player can go anywhere in America and be more loved than they are right here at the University of Kansas,” said current KU coach Bill Self.

In the modern era of college basketball, the “One more year” chant has become as popular as almost any other, especially late in the season when the home fans are clamoring for their talented underclassmen to stick around town a little longer.

With players leaving early for the NBA becoming more regular, even at Kansas, fans at Allen Fieldhouse never quite know when they’re watching the final game in the careers of some of their favorites.

Saturday, 10 former Jayhawks who never got the chance to say goodbye gave KU fans the next best thing — one more game.

As great as this reunion went, it may not be the last.


thisiknow 6 years, 7 months ago

This was Special!!!! Dorothy said it best,"There's no place like Home".

password 6 years, 7 months ago

great game! awesome ending ~ couldn't have been any better !

blindrabbit 6 years, 7 months ago

If we don't get our football program together, we'll continue to be a 2nd. class citizen in major college sports. Twice in the past 2 years we have been exposed to the reality of college big time. During the Big12 realignment going-on's I heard about every Big12 college except KU, KSU, Baylor and ISU having options. Wake-up time!!!! Additionally, KU needs to assure that we maintain our academic standing, we know now that the PAC12 and B1G consider that as important as our sports program. Unfortunately, KU languished under the leadership of Hemenway, and our current administration is still trying to feel it's way.

I hope that during the next realignment go-around, which will no-doubt come, KU will be in a better position to control it's own destiny.

avanloen 6 years, 7 months ago

I keep reading from news articles on "legends of the phog" that part of the proceeds from this game was going to the Lawrence Boys Club. Comment is why just "part" of proceeds?? Where is the remainder of the "proceeds" above any expense go??? I hope none went to the KUAC,. Why not all proceeds above expense to a Lawrence charity organization???

Robert Rauktis 6 years, 7 months ago

"proceeds beyond expenses"

I thought this contingency was covered by the above. Or do you read things before blindly raging?

Terry Sexton 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm pretty sure the $$ went to The Taliban - either that or the scholarship fund at Troll University. You're on the faculty, right?

Bob Forer 6 years, 7 months ago

This game is proof positive that Kansas Basketball is uniquely special. There are not many schools, even amongst the elite programs, that could even pull off such an event, much less do it so well.

whats_going_on 6 years, 7 months ago

The football team/faculty must feel like garbage after seeing the HUGE turnout and excitement for the Legends game on Saturday. LOL!

blindrabbit 6 years, 7 months ago

Whats: You maybe correct, but the BB is going to pay in the long run if KU does not get it's football program together! Realignment when it happens again will not even consider basketball; that is a KU fantasy.

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