LEXINGTON — He had just played a few months earlier in the McDonald’s All-American game, but Kenny Walker admits even today that he was “scared to death” when he participated in the first Midnight Madness at Kentucky in 1982.
“We had 12,000 or 13,000 fans there. That was the biggest crowd I had ever been in front of,” Walker said Friday as he watched Big Blue Madness. “It was wild. I was overwhelmed. Dicky (Beal) and Sam (Bowie) have traveled across the state to play in Blue-White games and they kept telling me I wouldn’t believe the crowd and that I wouldn’t be ready for it.
“Heck, people started lining up hours early. We walked from (Wildcat) Lodge to Memorial Coliseum and it was wall-to-wall people. It was like walking through a tunnel. There were high-fives and slaps on the back from everybody. It was crazy.”
It got crazier.
The plan was for the players to go through a lay-up line. Walker isn’t sure which player dunked first — he thought maybe guard Dirk Minniefield — and then he said the crowd went crazy.