“The list of transgressions that Kentucky coach Rick Pitino will not tolerate on the basketball court is as long and involved as the Emily Post book of etiquette, and there is always room for expansion. So it was last Saturday, as his team was in the process of setting up a fantasy final against Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference tournament, that Pitino watched time stand still and decided he could not do the same.
There were 17 minutes and 43 seconds left in the Wildcats’ semifinal game against Florida, and the shot clock atop Kentucky’s basket had frozen like Georgetown’s Fred Brown in the 1982 NCAA title game, forcing a delay of several minutes. Officials at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta were slow to react to the crisis, and Pitino, who is hyper enough under normal circumstances, paced back and forth as if he were awaiting a doctor’s diagnosis. He finally snapped when the clock began ticking off seconds while a young stadium worker tinkered with the device. “Hey,” Pitino yelled, walking toward the basket and gesturing with both hands. Then Pitino literally put his foot down, stomping one of his shiny Guccis on the hardwood to grab the worker’s attention. “Hey!” he shrieked. “Hey, you! It’s working.”