You are America’s final hope, Frank Kaminsky. As the centerpiece of the University of Wisconsin team, you are the only story in the upcoming men’s Final Four that Americans can rally around if they hold no allegiances to any of the other uninteresting schools involved: UConn, Kentucky and Florida. You have overachieved. You splashed into the America’s college basketball consciousness this past weekend by scoring 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead your Midwestern squad to an overtime victory over Arizona and a trip to the Final Four in North Texas.
America likes guys like you – all seven feet of you — because stardom has not come fast nor easily. Coming out of high school you were not a McDonalds All-American like several other guys playing in the Final Four such as Kentucky’s Julius Randle. Last season, you averaged four points per game, according to UWBadgers.com. That’s not impressive. This season you vastly improved, posting 14 points per game. In one game this season you scored 43 points. For a guy who averaged four points per game last season, that’s amazing and possibly unprecedented. Improvement impresses people and makes them want to cheer for you to achieve glory.
You are the story. You deserve glory. The Final Four is yours. All other storylines are bores. The other three teams have won several Final Fours.
Bring this thing home, Big Frank. Be wicked skilled. Stymie your opponents. Picture yourself in two weeks on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine with a net around your neck, a cheerleader under your arm, a broad smile draped across your face, and your right index finger signaling that you and your team are Number One in this great nation. Deliver to the University of Wisconsin its second national championship in men’s basketball 73 years after capturing the title in 1941.
Become Wisconsin’s favorite son. Bring wildness to Wisconsin. Make Madison, Wisconsin, where your school’s campus is located, into Mad Town, USA forevermore. Knock off Kentucky in the semi-finals. With their pedigree and gaggle of ‘one-and-dones’, they’re bound to be favored against you. Pull a Villanova over Georgetown like in 1985. Unleash an unforgettable upset. Lead your team to the zenith. Flummox your opponents with flair. Send them back to their college campuses trophy-less and wishing they could have come through in the biggest game of their lives, thinking that maybe they should not be NBA bound after just one season. Make them question their college decisions. Cloud their thinking. You want them to leave North Texas regretting they underestimated you. Take this thing. Snag it. Caress it. Know that there is no one in America who wants you to win this title more than me.
I have faith in you, Frank The Gigantic. You have adept moves around the basket. You score with your left hand as well as your right, for this I love you. All basketball players who can score with both hands effectively win my trust and admiration. It means they have spent time in the gym practicing, that they respect and understand what the game demands. You can’t develop a left-handed shot when you’re right handed without doing countless drills repetitively, relentlessly. You did this, obviously. Many guys your size have had the potential to be as good a player as you are. But they didn’t have the self-control and fire that you have. They couldn’t defer gratification. They lacked grit. They quit. At home they sit. They didn’t sacrifice the way you did. They played too many video games, sat around, went to meaningless parties, wasted the opportunity to find out how far they could go in basketball. You are exploring how good you can be. Americans love explorers.
You ooze grit. Americans love guys with grit. Emit your grit during the Final Four. Open what’s in your soul to all watching you play. Be inspiring. Urge opponents to underestimate you. They will think the stage is too big for you to handle. They will doubt you’re as good a basketball player as people are starting to say you are. You will be questioned. You will have to prove them wrong by how well you play. Nothing else will convince them.
Don’t fall for their head games. Be who you are, a basketball giant who’s got serious game. Go to the mountaintop and stand taller than any other Final Four player. Be huge. Be tough. Be a baller. Post up guys down low and twist to your right and then left for buckets. Show them that you can’t be stopped. Demonstrate to them what got you to this level of excellence. Reveal your heart. Persist. Make them regret they didn’t work on their games as much as you.
Play basketball during the Final Four as if nothing else in the world matters to you. This weekend – the biggest of your athletic life – nothing else will. How you play basketball this weekend will be on your mind for as long as you live, whether you play well or you don’t, whether your team wins or loses. You are on the cusp of greatness, making history, becoming a national champion, an American hero. If you win, you will become one of my favorite hoopers of all time, up there with the insanely wonderful Larry Bird.
You are cool. You are compelling. You are worth my time. You should be this nation’s favorite college basketball player in the Final Four. Uplift me and tens of millions of Americans everywhere.
This is your moment.
Everyone that doesn’t hashtag everything the write #BBN