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BLUE HEAVEN
Alexander Wolff
October 10, 2007
THE BASKETBALL GODS HAVE BLESSED KENTUCKIANS WITH MORE THAN A CENTURY OF GLORIOUS SIGHTS AND SOUNDS
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October 10, 2007

Blue Heaven

THE BASKETBALL GODS HAVE BLESSED KENTUCKIANS WITH MORE THAN A CENTURY OF GLORIOUS SIGHTS AND SOUNDS

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WHEN ONE SPORT, one school, one supreme program so dominates a state, you can take its measure with sounds alone. Cock an ear to the sound track of more than a century of basketball in the Bluegrass State and you'll hear: The buzz of the Hyatt lobby in advance of a game at Rupp Arena....

The rap of a hammer as Governor Happy Chandler pounds a nail into the floor of Memorial Coliseum to mark the spot from which Joe Hagan's 48-footer beat Marquette in 1938....

The strains of that same Happy Chandler, a half-century later, leading the crowd in My Old Kentucky Home on Senior Day....

The sole noises heard at an Adolph Rupp practice—the squeak of sneakers and the sharp interjection of the Baron's voice....

Wah Wah and Bugeye, Goose and Odie, the Big Dipper and the Boy King, nicknames rolling off the tongues of fans in workplaces and on call-in shows....

Eddie Sutton's voice, low and gravelly, sharing what anyone who watched his teams already knew: "I like guards."...

The sudden report of Rick Pitino's shoe on the floor, getting the attention of some Cat who hasn't pressed hard enough or launched a three quickly enough....

The cadences of Cawood Ledford, crackling over a radio on a kitchen table in some Appalachian hollow....

The quickening heartbeat of a young boy who hopes desperately that tonight, God willing and the Creek don't rise, Cawood will tell of another Wildcats victory.

Now, in the mixing room of your mind, layer in the images: Jack Givens's legs kicking high enough that you could slide a chair beneath them when he rose to shoot....

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