Touching on subjects like the one-and-done NBA rule and whether college athletes should be paid, Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari made an appearance on “The Colbert Report” with Stephen Colbert on Wednesday and the result was both hilarious and pretty informative.
Three weeks removed from the Wildcats runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament, Calipari was on the show promoting his new book “Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out” and also took Colbert’s barbs with an excellent sense of humor.
First up, while introducing Calipari, Colbert said: “I’ll interview him for one minute and then go pro!”
Calipari has sent 29 players to the NBA, with freshman forward Julius Randle the most recent to play in college for one year before launching his professional career. Other top recruits who enjoyed only one year with Calipari include No. 1 picks Derrick Rose, John Wall and Anthony Davis.
Calipari stated he didn’t like the term “one-and-done,” but said he preaches a mantra of “succeed and proceed,” while comparing his players to business moguls like the late Apple founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates who also left college early.
“I would like them to stay two [years],” Calipari said, “but they’re genius dictates is it time to go.”
To which Colbert quipped: “What is it about your leadership that makes people want to flee from you?”
The other hot button issue touched upon was college player’s forming a union, and whether players should be paid.
“First of all with unions, unions are necessary if you treat with dignity and you treat them fair,” Calipari said. “When you talk about pay, it’s a cost of attendance for a young man or young woman to be on campus, to be on scholarship. But not be able to live the same lives as everybody else on the campus is a tough deal.”
Calipari said players should be paid with a stipend, and Colbert responded: “And that is paid in what, chestnuts and rabbit pelts, what?”
Full video of the interview below.