Q&A with ... John Calipari

August, 7, 2009
8/07/09
4:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

 
  David Allio/Icon SMI
  John Calipari picked the Steelers and Giants to be in the Super Bowl.

LATROBE, Pa.--New University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari made an appearance at Pittsburgh Steelers camp this week.

Here is what Calipari had to say about the Steelers, LeBron James and several other topics:

Coach, talk about your admiration for football and the Steelers.

Calipari: I grew up in Pittsburgh and this has always been the city's team. They are a championship organization because of the people. That means the people that own it, the people that manage it, and the people that coach it. They make sure the players are quality people and they take care of everybody. That's why they are what they are. So I'm hoping at Kentucky we can do that, because we have the fans that Pittsburgh has here. It's the same. They're absolutely nuts and crazy about it and passionate.

Do you see similarities in the two sports in coaching young men how to work together while teaching life lessons?

Calipari: It is. At this level it's about winning, while in college it's about teaching life skills. But what's happened to pro sports is so many more young athletes are coming in that you are teaching them more life skills. But to me the big difference is I gotta remember 12 names. How do they remember 60 names? I'd be calling people by their numbers [laughs]. 'Hey No. 87, come over here!'

There has been some talk recently that NBA star LeBron James could have been a dominant player in the NFL had he gone that route. What are your thoughts?

Calipari: LeBron came to Kentucky two weeks ago, and I know LeBron pretty well. I will tell you that he is 6 foot 8, 260 pounds and athletically could have played any sport that he wanted to play. He could've played football and not just as a wide receiver. He probably could have been a tight end. I have not seen him throw a football, but I wouldn't bet against him.

What is your Super Bowl pick this season?

Calipari: Well, you know I gotta go with the Steelers, and I think they have a great shot at repeating. There are things that have to come into play and you have to be a little lucky, and hopefully it will because they deserve it. I'd like to see the New York Giants [from the NFC]. I liked when Fran Tarkenton was there. But the other teams don't really matter. I'm watching these guys.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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