Basketball is more than a sport in Kentucky; it's a lifestyle. And that makes Louisville mayor Greg Fischer's recent pronouncement all the more bold.
The first-term mayor announced that this Friday, when the Louisville Cardinals square off against the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sweet 16, would be "Cardinal Red Day."
Declaring Friday "Cardinal Red Day"! Let's break our own world's record for Red. Go Cards in Sweet 16 in Indy! pic.twitter.com/HFP5lCkU4L
— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) March 24, 2014
That's great for the school and all its fans in the city, but the Wildcats also boast a strong presence in Louisville. Some 33 percent of residents support Kentucky, according to a 2005 Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll.
It seems like a risky move to alienate a third of the voting population, but Fischer (below) says he knows the risks and has come to terms with them.
"They say they're never going to vote for me again," Fischer proclaimed. "I'm willing to take that risk. I remind them I’m the mayor of Louisville and not the mayor of Lexington."
This isn't the first time Fischer has thrown shade at Kentucky. In 2012 he knocked coach John Calipari and the Wildcats for their approach to recruiting.
“We have two very different approaches to running a program," Fischer said. “UK has a one-and-done approach. We don’t. Plus, we have a new arena here [the 22,000-plus-seat KFC Yum! Center opened in 2010] and the Cats have arena envy. We got the best arena in the world and they can’t handle that.”
Ouch. As if Friday's game wasn't juicy enough, Fischer's pronouncement adds another layer of intrigue to the highly-anticipated contest.