LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In a basketball town right in the middle of a state that loves the hardwood, arguably the biggest event this weekend will take place 900 miles away.
Rick Pitino is set to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend.
"Sometimes you think of the Hall of Fame and you think of, like we said earlier, father time is catching up with you and I never really want to think about it because I would think that then my career is starting to close and I don't want to think that way," Pitino said in a news conference this week.
After almost three decades of head coaching, Pitino has a lot to reflect on as he gets ready to enter the hall of fame.
"I'm thinking of all the different players I've coached at the different places and how the programs are so different," he said.
A couple of stints in the NBA, seven Final Fours at three schools, two national championships and now the icing on the cake - a place among the sport's greatest. After all of that, you might understand if the coach was ready to relax. Then again, if you expect that, you don't know Pitino.
"You can have a tendency at that age to fatigue a little bit mentally and physically and you can't," Pitino said. "The competition is so keen, you can't fatigue."
At 60, Pitino has a contract at UofL that would keep him busy on the sidelines until 2022.
"I don't know if I can get to age 70," he said. "There are some coaches out there that get there."
Even past that, his influence on the game will live on in the many former assistants and players who have gone on to success coaching careers who Pitino now counts among his many friends. Many of them will be there to see the coach immortalized in the Hall of Fame.
"We've all heard the expression many years that if you leave this earth with five friends, if you can count your friends on one hand, you're a very rich person, well I'm one of the richest people in the world because I have a lot of friends that I cherish," Pitino said.
WAVE 3 Sports Director Kent Taylor will be in Springfield, Massachusetts this weekend. Be sure to check out our coverage at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8.
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