Phish is arguably one of the most well-known bands in the world; and it sounds like they know a bit of Louisville basketball history. Phish is a jam band that some people have called “The Grateful Dead of this generation.” Phish first formed at the University of Vermont in the mid-1980s and has retained a cult following since then with their transcendent live concerts.
They have weaved Louisville into a song called “The Line” that will be released on their new studio album called Fuego to be released on June 24.
You can listen to the song at Rolling Stone here
One of the moments that you might recall (if you know your UofL basketball history) is the 2005 Conference USA Championship, a game between Louisville and the University of Memphis.
Long story short, Louisville is up 2 when Darius Washington Jr. (of Memphis) is dribbling up the court after a missed free throw for the Memphis’s last possession. Memphis’s best player on the court was then fouled on a three point attempt (as time expired) by Louisville’s best player Francisco Garcia.
If you know basketball, you know that free throws can very stressful. Now imagine needing to make two out of three free throws to tie the ball game with a possible NCAA tournament on the line.That’s what faced Washington Jr. when he stepped to the free throw line, hence the title of the Phish song.
As the story plays out, Washington Jr. only successfully made one free throw. Memphis lost and Washington Jr. faded into basketball abyss with hardly a professional career. Washington Jr. was so heartbroken at the time that John Calipari, then the Memphis coach (oh the times, they have changed!), had to literally pick him up off the court floor.
Just to give you a taste of Washington Jr.’s legacy, if you search Darius Washington Jr. on YouTube, the first video that pops up with be a video titled “Darius Washington Jr. Goes Down In Flames.” Louisville took this win and used the momentum to enter the NCAA Tournament and advance all the way to the Final Four.
With Phish’s new song, this very obscure story has been brought back to life. Phish did not write the song to chastise or humiliate Washington Jr. They actually told Rolling Stone, “We love him and we can relate.”
While the origin of the song is a fairly specific piece of Louisville history, the lyrics can be broadened to relate with anyone going through one of life’s challenges. Some lyrics include: “You try to see your future from the line/And you’re clinging to the notion you’ll be fine.”
So if you know any obscure news today, know this. One of the most successful bands in the world, with one of the biggest followings, knows about how Louisville won the 2005 Conference USA Championship and then they wrote a song about it, releasing it nine years later. Carry on.
Photo courtesy of lostletterman.com