LOFTON: "I wanted to be a legend"
By: John Dunn
Founder, Managing Editor, Host
The All Vol Call In Show
Chris Lofton: a name synonymous to Tennessee basketball. When one thinks of Lofton's illustrious career for the Vols, they may think about one of his many clutch performances, one of his big shots from seemingly another area code, or they may reflect on his character. Lofton is a well-beloved figure around Tennessee, and it's for more than his three-point shot. Lofton is as down-to-earth as they come and is widely regarded as one of the nicest guys around.
Earlier this week, while attending a Tennessee men's basketball practice, coach Rick Barnes pulled Lofton on to the court and began to reminisce about some of the big moments throughout his career, including his shot-heard-round-the-world against Kevin Durant when Barnes was on the opposing sidelines, still serving as the coach at the University of Texas. Barnes spoke on Lofton's preparation-heavy mentality and his relentless work ethic. He then asked Lofton if he had ever thought about what it would be like to have his jersey retired. It was right then that Lofton caught on to what Barnes was doing, and he was informed that his jersey would be hanging in the rafters of Thompson-Boling Arena.
Lofton's jersey retirement is set for the Tennessee/Kentucky matchup in Thompson-Boling this season; a fitting game for the "cat killer."
In an interview with the All Vol Call in Show, Lofton spoke on what it meant to have his jersey retired by his Alma Mater.
"This is very special to me," he said. "Tennessee gave me a chance when nobody else did, so I literally gave my all for Tennessee. I never wanted to cheat them and wanted to show how appreciative I was of being there.
Lofton has a long list of accolades and awards but stated that having his jersey retired by Tennessee was as big as they come.
"This would be number-one when it comes to awards and stuff," he said. Having your jersey retired at this level is very special; it’s so rare. God is great."
There was no doubt in Lofton's mind that he would one day become an SEC legend. With the help of his coaches and teammates, he did just that.
"In practice we pushed each other to become better," he said. "We knew that it would make us a better team. Bruce (Pearl) did a great job of making us compete at a high level daily. He was a proven winner, so we had no choice but to follow his lead. The way I worked extra hard in the weightroom and on the court, I wanted to be a legend. My favorite players were MJ and Kobe, so I always loved how they treated the game, and how serious it was to them. It was a war every time they stepped on the court, and it was the same for me."