Arizona Basketball

Throwback Thursday: Nice try Kentucky but Arizona Wildcats foiled your plans in ’97




Kentucky’s “Back 2 Back” titles in 1996 and 1997 never materialized because Arizona had other plans, much like Harry S. Truman did against Thomas Dewey in the 1948 U.S. presidential election (Javier Morales/

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I can guarantee you this shirt honoring Kentucky’s “Back 2 Back” titles in 1996 and 1997 has never been worn. The Wildcats did win, the other Wildcats — Lute Olson’s Arizona Wildcats — which makes this shirt a keepsake in a dubious way for Kentucky.

I made sure to grab one of these shirts on sale for only $5 (regularly priced $25 if Kentucky won) on April Fool’s Day 1997 — what a coincidence — the day after Arizona dethroned the defending champions 84-79 in overtime in Indianapolis. I was there as the beat reporter of the team for The Arizona Daily Star.

Silly Kentucky. Miles Simon did not communicate: “Simon says Kentucky win the championship”.

Who can fault Kentucky though for printing them and having them ready for its fans in Indianapolis if those Wildcats happened to emerge victorious. I am sure the Arizona Wildcats already had their championship shirts ready for disbursement before the game was played.

But now as we reflect back, it is comical, similar to the “Dewey defeats Truman” headline in the Chicago Tribune on Nov. 3, 1948, the day after incumbent U.S. president Harry S. Truman won an upset victory over challenger and Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 presidential election.


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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:


— Stroll down memory lane with our “Throwback Thursday” posts


DeweyTruman publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.


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