The Louisville Cardinals have a sick new getup for warm-ups in honor of Kevin Ware prior to the 2013 Final Four.
Below is a photo from Mike Rutherford of CardChronicle.com via Bleacher Report, which gives us a quick glimpse of the gear for Saturday:
For the sake of style, let's hope coach Rick Pitino busts out his white suit and red tie. That would be awesome.
Ware was unfortunately injured in last Sunday's contest versus the Duke Blue Devils. He recalled the injury in an interview as Dan Wolken of USA Today writes:
"I contested the shot like I always do. I felt like I should have blocked the shot because I jumped so high. I didn't see where I landed but I feel like stuff like this doesn't happen for no reason.
Ware, who said he was initially in a state of shock, said he realized the seriousness of the injury when he saw Pitino's reaction.
"At first I went to help him up and as getting ready to help him up, and I actually didn't know what I was looking at for about five seconds," Pitino said. "Then he saw my eyes and looked and went, 'Oh my God.'
These circumstances are obviously uncommon, because of the rarity of the injury's severity. It's not surprising to see Ware receive an incredible amount of support; however, one former athlete can relate to Ware's situation from first-hand experience.
Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins suffered a similar injury courtesy of Lawrence Taylor. The extent of Theismann's injury ended his career, so his willingness to mentor Ware is quite admirable.
According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com via NFL AM, Theismann had contracted Ware:
Theismann, whose career famously was ended by Lawrence Taylor on "Monday Night Football," sent a text to Ware on Sunday offering help with "anything he needed."
"The emotional part of it is where I can maybe help walk him through it because I can tell him everything that he's going to feel, I can tell him everything that he's going to go through emotionally," Theismann said.
Which of the remaining teams is the toughest matchup for Louisville?
If there is a bright side to this, it's that Louisville came away victorious and has reached its second consecutive Final Four.
In the national semifinals last season, the Cardinals fell to in-state rival Kentucky. This year, though, is another chance to seize the opportunity versus Cinderella Wichita State.
Clearly Ware's impact on the court will be missed. He was a solid contributor on the defensive end and was able to score when needed. That said, new warm-ups combined with the additional motivation to win for their teammate gives Pitino's squad a competitive advantage.
And claiming the national title is the best way to respond in the face of adversity.