Celebrity Softball Game Brings Alumni, Celebs Together for Worthy Cause


Kentucky head coach John Calipari always wants his players to be able to think fast and react to any situation on the court. The Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic showed that his players not only learned that quality, they can apply it off the court as well.

With Rupp Arena under construction, former UK forward Karl-Anthony Towns helped Calipari come up with the idea to play a celebrity softball game instead. After the flooding in Louisiana occurred, it was Anthony Davis who suggested he use the game to generate money for relief efforts in the state of Louisiana.

“Well, what ended up happening, because Rupp was under construction, they convinced me to do this,” Calipari said. “I didn’t want to really do a softball game, but then we decided to do it and then Louisiana happens and now you have a cause. … It’s kind of neat. You have a cause, you have a why.”

So on Sunday, Calipari, fellow UK coaches, former Kentucky basketball and football players, local and national celebrities, and athletes of other sports got together and played a softball game in front of a few thousand fans at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.

They also competed in a home run derby prior to the game in which Towns came out with the victory in sudden (sudden, sudden) death. The 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year put on a show in the opening round, hitting eight over the 200-foot fence set up in the outfield, including one over the actual fence at the park.

“This is amazing,” Towns said. “This is something that we get a chance to rarely do. We get to help the community out but at the same time have fun. There’s nothing better than doing something that we would do for free but for charity. This is something we’re going to have a lot of fun doing today.”

As one might expect with numerous world-class athletes, there were a number of great plays throughout the game. Also as one might expect with a number of non-softball players, the game featured a number of errors. Regardless of the score, however, a great time was had by all as Team Towns defeated Team Calipari 18-12.

All of the money raised from the Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic will go toward flood relief efforts in Louisiana, with Calipari estimating $250,000 from the event and hoping for even more.

Earlier Sunday, Coach Cal announced that his fifth annual John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience had generated more than $1 million for the fourth consecutive year. That money, which does not include the money generated from the Coach Cal Celebrity Softball Classic, will be presented to 14 different organizations.