At halftime of Virginia’s NCAA tournament game against Oklahoma, Cavalier basketball fan Charlie Waddell made a bold statement. Waddell was one in a group of about 15-20 friends gathered at Kardinal Hall in Charlottesville to watch the game, and he decided to make an uncharacteristic wager.
“If Virginia wins the National Championship, I will get ‘Kihei’ tatted on my chest,” Waddell clearly and calmly tells a friend with a camera. Kihei, of course, refers to first year point guard Kihei Clark, a player that was instrumental in Virginia’s postseason run.
Charlie Waddell - A Man Of His Word pic.twitter.com/rm6oOlbHCF— Garrett Klingel (@GarrettKlingel) November 2, 2019
Waddell, who until recently had no tattoos, had been among the many Virginia fans that questioned Clark’s usage and playing time over the course of the season.
“I stand by most of my assessments of him last year,” Waddell said via text after getting his lifelong tribute to the 5’9 guard. “I was a little wrong in his overall value, I’ll admit that, but he was an issue at times. [That’s] why he didn’t play 2nd half in some games down the stretch.”
The video was posted that night on a Virginia Basketball fan group on Facebook, ensuring that Waddell would be held accountable should the unthinkable happen.
After beating Oklahoma, Clark had what could be classified as his breakout game in the Sweet 16 as the Hoos battled Oregon. The Ducks had a game plan that included sloughing off Clark at the three-point line, trying to make the 34% three point shooter make open shots. Clark went 3-for-8 in the game, but connected on the game-tying three (coming off a screen, nonetheless) with 5:41 to play at a time where points were very hard to come by.
Clark’s execution of the perfect pass against Purdue ensured Virginia would have overtime to fight for a spot in the elusive Final Four. I’d describe it more, but let’s just watch it:
Virginia would, of course, go on to win the National Championship after beating Auburn and Texas Tech in the Final Four. Clark went 4-for-9 (2-for-2 from three) for 12 points and added seven assists, four rebounds, and a steal to go with two turnovers in the Final Four.
Following the title, Waddell was reminded by both his friends and the strangers on Facebook about his wager. Waddell and his friends took to Twitter to try and track down Kihei Clark’s autograph, and a stranger obliged with a photo of it courtesy of an item Clark signed at a Meet the Team event. Well, Thursday, October 31 — some 208 days after Kihei Clark and the Cavaliers hoisted the trophy — Waddell went to Mystic Tattoo in Charlottesville and got Ian to make true on the bet.
A tattoo was never in the plans for Waddell, but he knew there was no going back. “I’ve never had a tattoo in my life, and I’ve always been scared to get a tattoo,” Waddell told Streaking the Lawn. “I knew everyone knew about the bet, and that they’d be expecting me to do it. The video of me saying I’d do it was already all over Facebook groups.”
According to Waddell, Clark is aware of the bet and thinks it’s “weird but funny.” Despite being critical of the young first year initially, Waddell is certainly a fan for life, saying, “Yes, I will love him forever now.”
The new basketball season gets underway in just two days as the Cavaliers head to Syracuse to take on the Orange on Wednesday night. The game is set for a 9pm tip off and will be aired on the ACC Network.