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For Kevin Ware, Now What?

The emotional rollercoaster ended on a high note for Louisville, but for their injured guard, the future is full of unknowns.

By J.R. Gamble April 09, 2013, 02:37 PM EST


Kevin Ware — crutches and all — was smiling ear to ear as his Louisville Cardinals basked in the glory of their first National Championship since 1986. Ware played the supportive soldier, unselfishly rooting for his team. He was Louisville’s emotional amphetamine throughout the final two games of their conquest.

Now, as the blinding March Madness lights dim, the emotional adrenaline gives way to the harsh reality ahead for Ware. For starters, a long rehab with no certainty of regaining full strength and a Wally Pipp special — compliments of junior backup Luke Hancock. The George Mason transfer not only performed like an NBA lottery pick, but made a fierce claim to Ware’s starting guard spot next season. Hancock led Louisville with 20 points in its semifinal victory and stroked a gang of clutch threes (5) for a team-high 22-points in the chip.

As much as Ware enjoyed the win, he’s got to be feeling conflicted about the way Hancock shined on the golden stage. Hancock’s coming out party might be at Ware’s expense.

Ware’s March Madness experience has been a whirlwind of fortune and misfortune. One minute he’s a little-known sophomore guard starting in the Midwest Regional finals against Duke. The next minute, Ware wrecks his lower right leg on a freak play, and in the process, rides sympathy to social media fame. Mentions of Ware on Facebook skyrocketed 3.7 million percent, making him the most talked about player in the entire tourney, according to

He’s the talk of the town right now. Hopefully, he won’t become the forgotten man in Louisville in ‘14. 


J.R. Gamble writes for The Shadow League. He's been covering pro sports as a radio host and journalist since 1996. He's written for The Raleigh News & Observer, Newsday and SLAM Magazine. He has co-hosted Sportsrap Radio with A Tribe Called Quest legend Phife Dawg. Follow him @fanalyst1 & find him on Facebook.

View more from J.R. Gamble, a site dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage with a cultural perspective that insightfully informs sports fans worldwide. Founded and developed by media entrepreneur Keith Clinkscales, TSL is owned by Shadow League Digital a multi-platform content creation company.