John Calipari is bringing more than his team to the Barclays Center on Friday night.
The Kentucky coach plans to bring a sizeable check for Hurricane Sandy victims when he arrives in Brooklyn for the season-opener against Maryland.
“I think we’re going to be able to present a check for nearly $1 million Friday there before the game,” Calipari said Thursday on a conference call.
Current and past Kentucky players worked with local TV station WKYT on a telethon that helped raise money for those affected by Sandy.
“Last night we spent an hour on our local television stations,” Calipari said. “It wasn’t even covered in Louisville, so you’re talking about a poor state and these people stepped up for over $200,000. We had matching dollars, we have an auction going on.”
In 2010, Calipari helped raise $1 million for “Hoops for Haiti,” benefitting victims of the Haitian earthquake.
This time around, Sandy was more personal.
“My grandparents came through Ellis Island,” he said.
Sandy affected friends and people he’s known for a long time.
“I’ve been in touch every day with friends and I’m stunned,” he said. “When I saw what happened in the Queens area. When you talk about the Jersey Shore, Staten Island, you’re talking working-class people. When you talk Jersey Shore, people may think those are wealthy people. But those are not. Those were fishing villages….Those homes were turned over to families for generations and now wiped out.
“This money with that storm that followed it up, now there’s snow and cold. It’s amazing what people have gone through there. We can’t forget about it, like OK it happened last week. These people are still suffering right now, and that’s why we did it.”