White Out for Kenny Arnold
IOWA CITY, IA – Former University of Iowa basketball star Kenny Arnold has spent the last 30 years fighting health issues, including a brain tumor and several strokes, which have limited his mobility, robbed him of his ability to speak and left him in a state of chronic pain. His former teammates are quick to point out that Arnold’s positive attitude and upbeat personality have been crucial in fighting his battles and he remains an inspiration to everyone who knows him.
“Kenny has always been a tremendous leader,” says former Iowa teammate Mike “Tree” Henry. “At the time of his initial diagnosis, the doctors gave him a 10 percent chance of surviving. Well, that was almost 32 years ago and Kenny keeps fighting. All of his former teammates, friends and fans are so inspired by how he has lived his life, we want to do something really special to honor Kenny and help motivate people out there who are facing similar battles.”
There is a grassroots effort to take an upcoming “White Out” game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and use it to honor Arnold. On Saturday, February 18, Iowa plays Illinois in Iowa City with a 1 p.m. tipoff. The goal is for as many fans as possible to be wearing special shirts, designed to honor Arnold, at the game.
“We think the idea of combining the ‘White Out’ game with Kenny’s shirts is a perfect way to show Kenny that he is not only remembered by Hawkeye fans, but that we are all so proud of him for the courage and strength he shows every day,” says former teammate Vince Brookins. “We know the passion of Iowa fans and we know they will step up in this effort for Kenny.”
The last time the Hawkeyes earned a trip to the Final Four was in 1980 and Arnold led that team in both points and assists. He was a sophomore guard for Coach Lute Olson’s team that battled through knee injuries to its All-American point guard Ronnie Lester, as well as injuries to Arnold (broken thumb), Bobby Hansen (hand), Mark Gannon (knee) and a plane crash that seriously injured Assistant Coach Tony McAndrews.
Perseverance and teamwork carried the Hawkeyes in that magical season. And now, perseverance and teamwork are guiding Arnold’s former teammates to assist the Hawkeye great, who currently lives in a skilled nursing facility in Chicago.
The Kenny Arnold shirts, which include a “Teammates For Life” logo and Arnold’s number 30, are available for sale for $30 apiece at the following locations:
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Hawkeye Fan Shop at 1525 2nd Street in Coralville
Hawkeye Fan Shop at 201 S. Clinton Street in Iowa City
Black and Gold at 1000 25th Ave in Coralville
Black and Gold at 102 E. Kimberly Rd in Davenport
Three locations in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the Main Concourse
Prior to the game on February 18, several of Arnold’s former teammates will be available on the main concourse at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to sign autographs and visit with fans from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Former Hawkeyes Ronnie Lester, Vince Brookins, Mike “Tree” Henry, Bobby Hansen, Mark Gannon, Steve Waite and Waymond King will be there to help make it a special day for Hawkeye fans, young and old alike.
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The current Hawkeyes will be wearing the Kenny Arnold shirts during warm-ups to pay tribute to Arnold and how he has battled cancer with tremendous courage and grace.
“Kenny isn’t able to travel due to his health issues, but we know that Hawkeye fans will bring his spirit to the arena that day,” says Brookins. “And when Kenny sees the photos and videos from that outpouring of support, you cannot imagine the joy that will bring to him.”
After the game that day, Arnold’s former teammates will be hosting a “Meet and Greet” at The University Club on Melrose Avenue in Iowa City from 4 to 8 p.m. This event will be a fundraiser for the Kenny Arnold Fund and is open to the public. A suggested donation at the door will be $10 for individuals or $20 for a family. This “Meet & Greet” will be a unique opportunity for fans to mingle with the former Hawks (including those listed above). There will be a photo station where fans can get a picture taken
and have it autographed on the spot, there will be items available for auction and there will be great conversations and stories to share. There will be hors d’oeuvres served with a cash bar available. This is a family-friendly event that should be great fun for Hawk fans of all ages.
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“When we talk to guys we played against in college, they are always in awe about how the Hawkeye Basketball Family sticks together and how the Iowa fans never forget you,” says Henry. “We look forward to visiting with everyone we meet that day. Kenny is such an inspiration, so we want to share his story and inspire others to keep fighting, as well as motivate those who can help others to take action.”
KENNY ARNOLD’S IOWA CAREER (1979-82)
Scored 1,112 points
Handed out 352 assists (9th all-time in Iowa history)
Led Final Four team in points and assists (1980)
Played on Iowa’s last Big Ten champion (1979)
During his four years, Iowa finished 1st, 4th, 2nd and 2nd in the Big Ten
Second all-time in Iowa history for minutes played in NCAA Tournament (350)
Fourth in Iowa history for points scored in Final Four games (39)
One of three players in Iowa history to score 20+ points in a Final Four game (Carl Cain, Bill Logan,
Never left the court in the last game of his Iowa career (45 minutes)
One of six Hawkeyes to finish career with at least 1,100 points, 350 assists, 250 rebounds and 80 steals
Led team in points in 1980 (444)
Led team in assists in 1980 (142)
Led team in assists in 1981 (110)