When the comprehensive Card Chronicle story is ultimately written by Phillip Roth or Austin Montgomery, one of the most interesting and entertaining chapters will undoubtedly be the one devoted to Chicken Knowles and the "Bring Chicken to the Bucket" movement.
More than anything else, I think, this site has been defined by the fun, silly inside jokes that somehow became much more, and the Chicken Knowles saga is probably my favorite one of those.
With Houston coming to town to take on the mighty Cardinals Thursday night, it's been brought to my attention by some readers who weren't around a few years ago that not everyone is familiar with the movement, and that a refresher course is being demanded. I can make that happen.
Here's your timeline and your glorious trip down memory lane.
June 18, 2011
Then Courier-Journal recruiting writer Jody Demling attends the NBA Top 100 camp and notes on his blog that there is a player at the camp whose name is listed as Chicken Knowles.
All it takes a is the flick of a wrist to light the match that changes the world.
This Saturday morning, June 18th, I, Mike Rutherford, wish to make the following known to all: If Louisville is only taking one player from the class of 2012, that player must be Chicken Knowles. And if Louisville is only taking two players from the class of 2012, those two players must be Chicken Knowles and whoever else Chicken Knowles wants to come with him.
My reasoning is two-fold. First, I think it's safe to say that the last Knowles to play here worked out pretty well for everyone involved. Is anyone going to disagree with that? No? Let's move on then. Second, his first name is Chicken. The mere thought of Rick Pitino/my dad screaming "CHICKEN!" in pure, unadulterated anger is reason alone to give the young man eight scholarships. Also, if you don't love chicken, then you need to get out of my face right now. I can count the number of days in the past year where I haven't had at least one meal that included chicken on Luke Skywalker's right nub.
And it's not like the kid can't play. Chicken (his God-given name is Danrad) is a versatile 6-10 power forward who has scholarship offers from Missouri, Baylor, and Arkansas, to name a few.
I've already found him on Twitter (@ChickenKnowles3), and he's pretty much Dickens compared to what I've seen from some of the nation's other top recruits. Basically, there's nothing not to love here.
June 21, 2011
After three days, the movement is in full swing. Chicken is retweeting Louisville fans every second and the photoshops are flying in.
I'm also feeling the need to alter 18th century abolition speeches for some reason.
When I consider the magnitude of the subject which I am to bring before the University of Louisville basketball staff, in which the interests, not of this blog, nor of Louisville alone, but of the whole world, and of posterity, are involved: and when I think, at the same time, on the weakness of the advocate who has undertaken this great cause-when these reflections press upon my mind, it is impossible for me not to feel both terrified and concerned at my own inadequacy to such a task. But when I reflect, however, on the encouragement which I have had, through the whole course of a long and laborious examination of this recruitment, and how much candour I have experienced, and how conviction has increased within my own mind, in proportion as I have advanced in my labours;-when I reflect, especially, that however averse any Chronicloid may now be, yet we shall all be of one opinion in the end;-when I turn myself to these thoughts, I take courage-I determine to forget all my other fears, and I march forward with a firmer step in the full assurance that my cause will bear me out, and that I shall be able to justify upon the clearest principles, every resolution in my hand, the avowed end of which is, the commitment of Chicken Knowles to the University of Louisville.
The summer of 2011 was fantastic and insane.
June 23, 2011
Chicken and I speak for the first time, and it's everything I dreamed it would be.
Movements generally take time to evolve. Civil rights, gender equality, getting Reaper back on the air (fingers crossed), etc. But that's a broad umbrella that "Bring Chicken to the Bucket" was still too large to fall under.
Mere hours after Louisville fans were first introduced to Chicken Knowles, the movement to make him a Cardinal had already kicked into full gear. Fans took to Twitter, Facebook, and rooftops to let their desires be known to the world, and to Knowles himself.
Day four of the movement will forever be known as the day I had the privilege of speaking with Chicken Knowles. We talked on the phone for about five minutes this morning, and covered his experience at the NBA Top 100 camp, his recruitment, and who the most talented original Mighty Duck outside of Adam Banks was. OK, we didn't actually get to the last part, but I'm quite certain he would have said Jesse Hall.
He definitely would have said Jesse Hall.
June 27, 2011
Darrell Griffith gets an education on Chicken Knowles.
June 30, 2011
Despite not having any contact with any of the Louisville coaches, U of L begins to pop up as a college choice for Chicken on a handful of recruiting websites.
A local media member, who discovered Card Chronicle through this saga, calls me up later this night and the conversation includes the following exchange.
"So basically, you all have recruited this top 100 player all on your own, and now he wants to play for Louisville."
"Yeah, I guess that's pretty much the situation."
July 8, 2011
Colonel Sanders himself becomes the latest member of the movement.
Did you ever see That Thing You do? Liv Tyler's pretty hot in it, but that's beside the point. You know that scene where The Oneders hear their song ("That Thing You Do") on the radio for the first time? Well, that's kind of how I felt last night when I saw this tweet from the official KFC Twitter account.
Oh yeah, I heard about that, it's not a big deal really. Only big enough for COLONEL GOD--MN SANDERS to roll out of the grave and tweet about.
Christiane Amanpour is to the Persian Gulf War as Aaron Brown is to Sept. 11, 2001 as Card Chronicle is to Chicken Knowles. Now if we can figure out a way to get Jesus' support then I'm almost positive we'll have Chick-fil-A on board too.
July 13, 2011
Word has made its way all the way up to Rhode Island.
July 18, 2011
This video hits the Internet and we all fall even deeper in love.
July 20, 2011
A day after I write this post comparing Louisville football to "Saved by the Bell" and praise the wedding song at the end of the final episode, this video mixing Chicken and the wedding song together becomes both the greatest (for us) and most confusing (for everyone else) thing to ever hit the Internet.
July 26, 2011
A day after Chcken makes his national television debut on ESPNU, Jody Demling tweets that it's a "long, long, long shot" that we ever see him in a Cardinal uniform.
The news is not received well.
Alright, here's the deal: I'm pretty sure the women's suffrage movement had some low points as well. But you know what ended up happening? Chicks were given the right to vote for the male candidates they find the most attractive. Had it not been for people like Anthony, Clark and Stone in the 19th century, Elisha Justice might not be the hottest male athlete in the world today.
Now I'm not saying we should boycott Jody Demling (couldn't hurt), and I'm not saying Jody Demling hates women (prove he doesn't). What I am saying is that this is not the time for surrender. That time was two minutes ago when you were watching the Dracula's Lament video. That time is over.
The point is, ladies and gentleman, that bringing Chicken to The Bucket - for lack of a better word - is good. Bringing Chicken to The Bucket is right. Bringing Chicken to The Bucket works. Bringing Chicken to The Bucket clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Bringing Chicken to The Bucket, in all of its forms - bringing Chicken to The Bucket for life, for money, for love, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind. And bringing Chicken to The Bucket - you mark my words - will not only save Louisville basketball, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.
We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight.
Bring Chicken to the Bucket.
There were people who were legitimately mean (I think, two and-a-half years later it's still hard to decipher what's a joke here and what isn't) to Jody after this, which is when I kind of realized that things were getting just a tad too real.
July 27, 2011
ESPN writes about "Bringing Chicken to the Bucket." Things are definitely too real.
Aug. 10, 2011
After confirming to fans on Twitter that he is not being recruited by Louisville, Chicken narrows his list of schools to four. He takes in the Cards' scrimmage in the Bahamas later that same day, where he links up with CC Nassau Correspondent Matt Swafford.
Aug. 15, 2011
People are incorporating this thing into their weddings.
Sept. 11, 2011
"#BringChickenToTheBucket" shirts go on sale and do remarkably well because we're all insane apparently.
Sept. 12, 2011
Chicken Knowles officially commits to Houston...and then calls me to make sure I'm okay.
And then, a hand extended from the Longhorn State.
I guess by now I should have expected it, but I didn't. A smile. Yeah man, I think I'm going to be OK.
Minutes later, the phone rings. Probably someone with a question about the game or, if I'm lucky, just a pal with an easy-to-answer fantasy football question. I grab the fancy device I've owned for a few weeks now. My friends are all proud of me for joining the smart phone fray, but I don't know, it still feels foreign to me.
Surely this is some type of error. A mix-up with a satellite signal or something. I still don't really understand how the hell these things work.
I answer the phone like I've always done. Sure enough, a comforting and familiar Bahamanian accent greets me on the other end.
"Chicken!? How are you?"
"I'm doing good. I just wanted to see how you were doing. I wanted to make sure you were all right."
"Yeah, I'm doing OK, man. Hey, congrats on your commitment. And you get to keep playing with House. That's great. I'm really excited for you."
"Thank you, sir. I'm really excited."
We talk for a few minutes more. About what? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. I remember something about life in Conference USA and a ski trip to Vail we both know we'll never take. Really, I'm just pretending it's still mid-June, and that my old friend's voice is one that still might say the words "I'm coming to the Bucket" at a press conference this fall.
"Well, I just wanted to make sure you were all right."
"Thanks, man. And congratulations again. Best of luck with everything this year."
The worst part isn't waking up, it's the five seconds after you wake up when the confusion's gone and reality has slapped your brain back into its rightfully melancholy place. That's the worst part.
You can't kill something that exists in a place you can't reach. The Movement will never die.
Seeing the name "Chicken Knowles" pop up on my phone as I'm lying down in a dark room with Adele's "Someone Like You" blasting from my computer is still one of the funniest scenes I've ever been a part of. You seriously could not have scripted the timing any better.
Oct. 5, 2011
Chicken buys a shirt and lets the Louisville fans know he still cares.
Dec. 26, 2011
Chicken Knowles makes the final ballot for 2011 Card Chronicle Man of the Year, joining Charlie Strong, Preston Knowles, Anthony Conner, Teddy Bridgewater and "The Train." Strong and Preston wind up sharing the honor.
April 4, 2012
I'm absolutely obliterated in New Orleans the Sunday night after Louisville loses to Kentucky in the Final Four when I receive word that Chicken has been added to the roster for the Derby Classic. It eases the pain. Although since the game is being played at Freedom Hall, Chicken still isn't technically coming to "The Bucket."
April 7, 2012
In a twist of fate appropriately bizarre for this entire saga, I'm in the Bahamas for a bachelor party at the same time Chicken makes his Louisville debut, in which he scores 15 points and grabs eight boards.
Chronicloids pick up the slack and make sure the young man knows he's appreciated.
Nov. 13, 2013
After being forced to sit out a season and wait more than a year to hear something from the NCAA, Chicken is finally cleared to play for Houston.
Jan. 16, 2014
Two and-a-half years after this thing got started, Chicken will finally be coming to The Bucket when Houston squares off against Louisville Thursday night. I will be wearing my shirt.
The biggest and most important takeaway from all of this silliness is the following: Danrad "Chicken" Knowles is without question one of the nicest human beings I've ever come across. He still cheers for Louisville and interacts with Cardinal fans on Twitter, he commented "WOOOHOOO!!!!!" on an Instagram post announcing my engagement a few weeks back, and he's the rarest breed of major college athletes these days who doesn't take himself too seriously and who genuinely appreciate any and all positive attention he receives.
I hope Louisville beats Houston soundly, but I hope Chicken Knowles plays well Thursday night and every other night. He's my favorite non-Cardinal.