Eight Games is a series on modern Tennessee basketball that plots the history of the program from 1997-98 to present (the last 24 seasons). In this series, there are eight chapters, each referring to a specific time period in Tennessee basketball told through the lens of one game in that period. This series runs every Monday and Thursday in the month of October 2021. You can follow all editions as they’re listed here.
A man rises from his seat. It is late; the air is thick and noise around him is heavy. The noise, depending on the night or even the time of the night, can be quantified as ‘good’, ‘bad’, or ‘mixed.’ This man possesses an unusually special ability to make those around him feel all three noises at once. He is a master of emotional confusion; a level above at his highly-specific craft.
The audience around him may not know it at the time, but in their presence, they’ve reached the inflection point of one man’s work. It’s the point at which there is no turning back; a point where people firmly fall on one side or the other with the man in question. These points are unpredictable, and by the time they arrive, they’ve blown past you in what feels like no time at all.
In the process of rising from his seat to issue a call to those mere feet away from him, he clenches his fists, stands as straight as he can, and strikes a pose that remarkably simulates holding in the poop of a lifetime.
This man is Jerry Green, either the most-hated or most-underloved coach in modern Tennessee basketball history.
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