On this week’s episode of Five Things, my guest is Matt Jones, the host of Kentucky Sports Radio and the co-founder of the New Kentucky Project. He’s best known for being a professional fan of Kentucky basketball, but he’s also an attorney with several years of practice under his belt.
We talked about an experience in law school that changed his life, about how winning a golf tournament at age 10 made him feel, and about an important novel given to him by his childhood pastor. Listen this week’s episode in the player above.
On one of his valued objects, a program from the 1992 SEC basketball tournament:
“I became a sports person because of my grandfather. I went to games with him. I went to the SEC tournament with him every year, and  was the last one he was physically able to go to. He had lung cancer at the time and he took me to that [tournament]. It was one of the best SEC tournaments of all time, from a basketball standpoint.
“But it was also, for me, powerful because it was this team of guys that I’d watched play in high school. I mean, they were all from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky. That’ll never happen again. And it was also the last one I went to with him, and he was so physically sick he couldn’t leave the room, so we went to the hotel and then he didn’t even go to the games. I went with his friends to the games. He passed away before he could see me have a career following UK sports, but my love of it came from him, and since that was really the last time I was able to go to something with him, it’s always been very important to me.”
How his law school education has affected his current gigs in broadcasting:
“I learned how to argue. George Will, the conservative writer, says law school expands the mind by narrowing it. And I think what he means by that is, you don’t really learn the law in law school. You learn, though, how to figure out in an argument what’s the most important thing, how to distill someone’s point into a way that you can counter. And I love to argue — I don’t like to fight, but I love to sit there and say okay, you think this but what about this? I think that game of logic intelligence is fascinating, and that’s law school.”
On winning a country club golf tournament at 10 years old:
“When I grew up in Middlesborough, I taught myself to play golf. But I taught myself to play golf a different way than a lot of people: I played in my grandmother’s yard, with a tennis ball and a seven-iron. I started to play and all my friends that played golf, they were a member of the country club. My mom didn’t want me to be a member of the country club, because people drank at the country club and she didn’t like that. So I never really played at the country club.
“So it came time for the club’s yearly golf tournament, and one of the family members of a friend was like, ‘Matthew, you should play in this golf tournament.’ So I went up there to play, and I won my age group, which was like a huge upset in some ways because I never played there. It made a lot of the folks at the country club mad. So when it came time for the ceremony, even as a young person I could tell they were mad that I won. And that little trophy, I still keep, because it was about being an outsider, and I’ve always kept that to remind myself of that background.”