The Kentucky men’s basketball players got an idea of what their coach means when he says “servant leadership” on Tuesday as they washed the feet of young children in the Bahamas and gave them new socks and shoes.
Coach John Calipari often combines humanitarian efforts, such as his “Hoops for Haiti” telethon, into the early UK basketball preseason. Tuesday, the Cats paired with Samaritan’s Feet, a charity that distributes new shoes to “under-served individuals around the world,” according to its website.
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Calipari had the players do the same during Kentucky’s last trip to the Bahamas. On Monday night, Calipari explained to his new group what they would be doing. A video of the meeting was posted by CoachCal.com. Photos of the foot washing were posted on the Twitter accounts of CoachCal.com and Kentucky men’s basketball. A short video was also posted on UK basketball’s Facebook page.
“When the kids come, you can tell, you know, they don’t have much,” Calipari said. “They have a pair of shoes for them, but before they give them the shoes, you wash their feet. Do you know the connotation of that? Washing their feet? Why would you wash their feet? ... It shows servant leadership. Who washed the feet of the 12 disciples?”
Calipari told his players that the effort was an example of the small things he and his players could do to help make a difference in people’s lives.
“I always say you are going to be blessed many times over, and then it’s what do you do with it? How do you give back? How do you touch other lives?” Calipari said Monday. “You figure out, I can have what kind of impact on people? Doing very little: You, right now, signing an autograph, taking a picture, grabbing (hugging) a kid ... That’s the kind of stuff you learn brings joy to you. This thing tomorrow (the foot washing) is a big deal.”
Kentucky plays four games over five days beginning 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Bahamas. All games will be broadcast live on the SEC Network.