ESPN Music: Kentucky

Marlana VanHoose is loud and proud

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24

ESPN's "E:60" has this feature on Marlana VanHoose, a truly remarkable 18-year-old girl from Denver, Ky., who has sung "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Kentucky women's games.

VanHoose has been blind since birth and has cerebral palsy. But none of that matters when she picks up the microphone and starts to sing. When you hear her, you'll understand. (And keep this in mind: "The Star-Spangled Banner" has made singers with Grammy awards and gold records look like fools. It's not easy.)

What's more, the Wildcats are 4-0 when VanHoose sings the national anthem.

Kentucky hoops amped by new rap song

October, 23, 2012

Rap artist Henry Ogirri is from Springfield, Mass. -- aka the birthplace of basketball -- and played hoops professionally, and he just so happens to have a cousin who is an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky.

You can probably guess where this is headed.

Ogirri turned his passion for the game and Wildcats basketball into "Drive for 9," an unofficial theme song for Big Blue Nation. The YouTube video of the song has already captivated the fan base, receiving more than 21,000 views, along with coverage from several national outlets.

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Drake receives championship ring from UK

July, 30, 2012
John Calipari, DrakeDavid Coyle/UK Athletics John Calipari chose Drake to coach one of Kentucky's intrasquad scrimmage teams in 2009.
Drake was born and raised by his mother in Canada, but he spent his summers in Memphis with his father. And as his fame grew throughout the 2000s, he got to know John Calipari, who coached Memphis basketball from 2000 to 2009.

Calipari, recruiter extraordinaire, embraced the young actor-slash-rapper. Then when Calipari moved to Kentucky before the 2009-10 season, Drake's fan allegiance went with Calipari to Kentucky, as Drake threw his full support behind the Wildcats and became the program's most famous fan (sorry, Ashley Judd).

Now Drake -- aka 25-year-old Aubrey Graham -- is such a part of Big Blue Nation that Calipari sent him a customized championship ring commemorating the Wildcats' 2012 NCAA title (picture below), complete with his nickname, "Drizzy."

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