Legendary basketball coach and Hoosier Bob Knight returned to Indiana’s Alumni Appreciation Game, and the crowd went absolutely wild.
It was the first time in almost twenty years that the legend appeared, and it was amazing. You could feel and sense the love in the air, and his old players welcomed him back home with tears and hugs.
The General Returns.
Bob Knight took the floor at Assembly Hall with his former players to a standing ovation: pic.twitter.com/ipq47fqbCu
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 8, 2020
Bobby Knight is as stubborn as an old mule. For almost twenty years, he refused to go back to Assembly Hall. He sure knows how to hold a grudge. But time heals all wounds, and this was truly a heart-warming experience.
The prodigal son has returned home to Bloomington, Ind.
It has been almost 20 years since Bob Knight set foot inside Assembly Hall for a basketball game. But Saturday afternoon, when Indiana hosted Purdue and celebrated the 40th anniversary of Knight’s 1980 Big Ten championship team, the old coach will finally be back in the kingdom he had ruled for 29 years.
Even when the school previously celebrated his three national championship teams, he wouldn’t come back to hear the cheers. The man who fired him, Myles Brand, died of cancer in 2009. Knight still refused to go back. Three years ago, when radio host Dan Patrick pointed out to Knight that most of the leadership that was at the school when he was fired was gone, Knight said, “I hope they’re all dead.”
When Patrick said some of them were, Knight said, “I hope the rest of them go.”
That was classic Knight: never wrong about anything, never moving past a fight and always — always — having the last word. Even with someone who had been dead for eight years. [Washington Post]
Bobby Knight is getting up there in the years, and he recently moved back to Bloomington, Indiana, with his wife, to be in the place that he loves. Bobby was a tough son-of-a-gun, some thought he was a bully, but he was a stickler for the NCAA rules.
Knight is 79 now and hasn’t been in good health in recent years. He and his wife Karen moved back to Bloomington this summer, apparently because of the medical care he could receive there and, according to friends, because Knight wanted to be back in the place where he is most revered and cherished.
There’s little doubt that’s the reason he decided to finally return to Assembly Hall, against Indiana’s biggest rival, on a day when many players he pushed, cajoled and frightened into greatness were in the building.
Knight has said and done some terrible things. He could be the worst kind of bully, often picking on people who weren’t in a position to fight back. But I believe he’s done a lot more good in his life than bad. In a college basketball world where it is often difficult to know who to trust, I know Knight never broke NCAA rules. I know it because I’ve known a lot of his players through the years — some of whom curse his name — but will always tell you the rules were strictly followed in their recruitment and when they were at IU. I saw it up close during my winter in Bloomington.
That December, when Knight learned that Steve Alford had posed for a charity calendar — unpaid — he knew right away that Alford had broken one of the NCAA’s many petty rules. The Hoosiers were about to go on the road to Kentucky. Knight could have waited to self-report before Indiana played a lesser opponent or hoped no one would find out about such a minor violation.
He had Chuck Crabb, the school’s compliance officer, call the NCAA that day. The ruling was quick: one-game suspension. Indiana almost certainly would have beaten Kentucky with Alford in the lineup. Instead, Alford spent the five-point loss back home in Bloomington.
Later in the season, Knight found out that some of the players were being given free gas. Before practice that day, he drove to the gas station and loudly told the owner if he ever heard again that he’d given a player so much as a pack of gum, he’d run him out of town. Then he told the players if they ever set foot in the place again, they’d be off the team. [Washington Post]
Who can forget the magical moment a couple of years back when Bobby Knight, the legend, endorsed Donald Trump for President? Bobby sure knows how to pick a winner. God bless him.
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