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Can’t Make It Up: Louisville Player Sits Out Due to Lack of Tights

Here’s a story I missed last week, and it’s too good not to write about (apologies if you already know about it). During a men’s college basketball game between Louisville and Bellarmine last Wednesday, Nov. 29, freshman guard Ty-Laur Johnson unexpectedly sat out most of the first half. When Louisville coach Kenny Payne was asked about that during his postgame presser, here’s what he had to say (video above, transcript below):

“Are you ready for this? I probably shouldn’t tell you this — we didn’t have the tights that he wanted, so he didn’t know if he wanted to play. Oh, yeah. You heard it. We didn’t have the tights that he wanted, that we’ve never had for him, and he decided, ‘I don’t feel like I can go.’ That’s what young people do. Oh, yeah. But he figured it out in the second half. He accepted the fact that we didn’t have the tights that we’ve never had for him, and he played. And he played well. Next?”

In response to a later follow-up question, Payne added this:

“This is a new day and age, a new generation of young people. They’re learning what it means to be a part of a team. They’re learning what it means to be kids of character. They’re learning. They’re learning. All of them are learning. In your minds, you’re looking like, ‘I can’t believe he just said that.’ That’s what it’s [like] coaching young people.”

When Johnson did appear in Wednesday’s game, he had tights or leggings on his left left, but not on his right:

(Photo by Matt Stone, Louisville Courier Journal)

Johnson went with a similar one-legged style on Nov. 20 against Indiana and Nov. 15 against Coppin State. After that Nov. 20 game, Payne announced that Johnson had sustained a strained groin, so it’s possible that Johnson’s subsequent request for a certain kind of tights may have been related to the groin injury. (Johnson also played on Nov. 26 against New Mexico State, but I haven’t been able to find a photo of what he wore in that game.)

Louisville has played one additional game since this incident — yesterday, against Virginia Tech. Johnson played 19 minutes and once again went with the asymmetrical hosiery. The team’s next game is this Saturday afternoon against DePaul.

(My thanks to Patrick O’Neill for bringing this one to my attention.)

Comments (11)

    Sigh. The old man that I am will just say it. We’d be off the team in our day.
    I feel old.

    I hear the point. But… Chris Sale and his scissors tell me that this kind of attitude may not be entirely new.

    I’m not saying that’s a great attitude, but tights really do make a bigger difference than expected. And wanting to wear gear that decreases the chance of an injury that could end your career and lose you your scholarship, I think we can agree that that’s fairly reasonable.

    I wonder if Ty-Laur even knows that his coach low-key dissed him to hell and back. The key was low, but I heard it.

    This player should have been suspended, and if he doesn’t apologize to the team then he should be kicked off the team. But we all know that won’t happen. I’m 66, and I blame my generation.

    I was at the Maui Invitational a couple weeks ago. It seemed like the majority of players were wearing one tight and seemed mixed on the leg choice.

    I was watching a YouTube video over the weekend where they were talking about toughness. Jack Youngblood came up as the toughest, playing 3 NFL games in 1979/80 ON A BROKEN FIBULA, one being an exhibition game, the Pro Bowl.. This kid won’t play because he doesn’t have the right TIGHTS?

    This generation is doomed.

    I totally recognize this absence of team notion made by the coach, being a youth basketball trainer myself. So occupied by their own identities that they do not grasp the concept of giving up some of that in order to operate succesfully on the court as a team. Blank stares, every week. They are a fun bunch to train but it amazes me: the concept of team is completely absent in their minds. They share fun, they are all good friends, but to accept a role in a team is too much like attending classes. No fun at all. They all want to play one on five, like it is some smartphone game.

    Reminds me of when Lebron ripped those arms off those stupid sleeved jerseys during a game, complaining that they hindered his shooting…
    But then they chose to wear them in the Finals, Lebron played great and the Cavs won the title…

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