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September 14, 2012Your television won't help you. The computer's of no use.
If you want to see the assemblage of former Kentucky basketball players Saturday at Rupp Arena, you're going to have to buy a ticket.
But if you don't, John Calipari is OK with it.
The Kentucky coach said he's "fine" with the ticket sales for Saturday's Alumni Charity Game at Rupp, though he took to Twitter this week to campaign for more.
"We'll have great numbers there," Calipari said Thursday, at the opening of his Basketball Experience fantasy camp. "You'd like to have 25,000 there. We're not going to, but it's a summer event in football season and you're bringing people back. It's not, 'Come on in, it's free.' You've got to pay for it."
Tickets have been discounted this week at Ticketmaster.com, where the promo code TWENTY will secure lower-level seats for $20 through 10 p.m. Friday.
All the proceeds from the game will be donated to charity. As of Thursday afternoon, Calipari said, UK was set to give away more than $300,000 to as many as six charities.
The Alumni Charity Game, which tips off at 2 p.m. will follow a game at noon between All-Stars from the John Calipari Basketball Experience camp and members of the 1996 Kentucky NCAA championship team, many of whom are serving as coaches in the Experience camp.
"This is an unreal feeling," former UK guard Derek Anderson said. "When you get to come back and actually have people who have a generous heart to give back and still play basketball, that's the two passions that you can't replace with anything. You can't put a price tag on that."
NBA rules have prohibited Kentucky from promoting which active NBA players will participate.
Anthony Davis posted on Twitter about the game without expressly saying he'll play. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said Thursday afternoon that he'll play after saying in the morning that he planned to attend but not play.
"I just want to have fun with all my old teammates," Kidd-Gilchrist said.
DeMarcus Cousins arrived at the Joe Craft Center on Thursday. John Wall is expected to coach one of the teams. Rapper Drake will coach the other.
Walter McCarty, a key member of the 1996 squad who's participating in Calipari's camp this week, said he's not sure which of his teammates will attempt to run with the young guns in Saturday's game.
"Listen, I'm content with my game and where I'm at with my life," McCarty said with a smile. " I'm not trying to prove anything. If they need an extra body to run up and down the court, to pass the ball or shoot some threes from half court, I'm the guy."
Most of the "core guys" from the 1996 squad will be in attendance, former point guard Wayne Turner said.
"I think it's awesome," Turner said. "When you can get guys who played here in 96-99 back here, especially guys like Antoine Walker, Derek Anderson, Walter McCarty, I mean, for Coach Cal to put us all together and have us come back, it's an honor for us."
The 1996 team won't be the only former Kentucky greats in the building on Saturday, Calipari said.
"We're going to do some special things as we raise banners," Calipari said. "We've won eight national titles. A lot of those guys are going to be back."
Mike Pratt, Jimmy Dan Conner, Sam Bowie and Joe B. Hall were among the names Calipari listed who plan to be in attendance. UK is hoping to get Wah Wah Jones, among others, to attend.
"They're not playing, but they're coming back ," Calipari said. "It should be a great celebration of the history of the program."
Calipari plans for former players to deliver oversized checks to representatives from the various charities that will receive money, sending a message to former players that, " yeah, we're all together and this is about our family and all that, but by coming together, we can have an impact on these different organizations."
It's an event Calipari's excited to see. And, he said, he's fine no matter how many fans fill the stands.
"If 4,000 people had showed up, 10,000 come, 15,000 - whatever comes, they're going to have a ball," Calipari said. "They're going to say, 'I am so happy.' It's not going to be televised, so anybody waiting for television - it won't be streamed because the NBA won't let you stream it, they won't let you televise it. So it's either you're in the building (or you don't see it)."