YOUR TURN: Bob Knight

Hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

I know many of you are feeling strong emotions as Bob Knight becomes the all-time wins leader. And you’re also reading the columns from big-time writers across the country and seeing Knight all over SportsCenter.

I’d love to know some of your thoughts on this whole thing. Does Knight deserve the record? Plenty of people seem to believe he does not. Do you believe that Knight doesn’t care about the record, as he claims publicly? How will Bob Knight be remembered when he’s gone? Do you miss him?

I should note that outside of Bloomington Knight’s legacy is still closely tied to the Hoosiers and their fans. If I get one constant question — from my family, my buddies and other sports writers from around the country — it’s “What do they think of Bob Knight now?” And I don’t know how to answer it. So help me out.

4 comments

  1. Does Knight deserve the record?

    Of course, he and his teams won the games. Has nothing to do with his behavior to the press and the like.

    Do you believe that Knight doesn’t care about the record, as he claims publicly?

    I believe it makes him feel old! I think he realizes it is the latter stages of his career but the glory of the award is not meaningful to him as it is to the fans, media or basketball historians who are the ones hyping this event.

    How will Bob Knight be remembered when he’s gone?

    I remember RMK history in three parts…
    Part 1 – Army – IU through 1990
    Part 2 – IU 1990 – 2000
    Part 3 – TT 2001 – present

    Part 1 – Young brash and defiant, created teams with a system designed to win at both ends of the floor.

    Part 2 – the Life Cycle of his system had run its course and stalled a bit with the changing environment and new age players. Sports Media coverage had exploded with the introduction of Cable, Satellite and Internet. Media relations and PR became more important to the University with this added exposure. Knight seemed to resist this and the rift began. It was not just basketball any more. Yet his principles remained the same … the results and methods came into question.

    Part 3 – A new start with some adjustments. Some slips but generally a successful comeback. More of a team approach to coaching than in years past. Working with lesser talent than in part 1 and part 2 but brought a program to national attention once again.

    Bottom line: A cantankerous coach with a basketball genius second to none but with some aberrant behavior. He is an unique man hated by some; respected by many. Still defiant to the end.

    Do you miss him?

    I miss RMK part 1…

    Those who did not live during the part 1 years can not comprehend what was accomplished during that period and what it meant to Indiana Basketball. Those experiencing Part 2 and Part 3 only are tainted with the coverage of the abberrant behavior of RMK under stress and duress.

  2. Great question. Elsewhere in the blogosphere it’d “Where’s Andre Patterson?”. Great initial comment from Cheyenne. I’ve been around a while and am convinced that at any point in time there’s a few people in society’s spotlight like RMK. Military, business, entertainment, politics all have these chacacters like Nicholson in “A Few Good Men”, just uncompromising, myopic adherents of their own self-defined value systems, they stubbornly plow through life exacting their reality on all around them. When they don’t accomplish the unusual or remarkable, they may end up as the town ecentric or nonconformist grouch. But when they achieve the remarkable, under the close scrutiny of the public eye, they become mythic. Some who have commented on RMK’s milestone have missed the point by miles because they’re simply not old enough to understand this long, complex career.
    My son attended RMK’s bb camp in 1994 and was congratulated by the Coach for anticipating and adjusting on defense. He smacked my son on the backside (there’s a statute of limitations on that, right?) and commented favorably. My son, in telling the story at the time, informed the family that he didn’t intend to ever wash that cheek because it had been touched by Coach. Our family will prefer to remember that moment and all the victorious moments RMK brought us, in lieu of the venom, anger and poor taste. For the Hoosier Nation this is (until hopefully supplanted by a stupendous ’06-07 season) the storyline for this season.

  3. This is coming from the viewpoint of someone who rode the Knight train almost from beginning to end.

    Let me begin by asserting that from roughly 1973 to 1993, RMK was the best basketball coach on the face of the earth. When he came to Bloomington and Indiana University, you could almost feel the ground shake with anticipation. He was already “Bobby T,” but with all due respect to those who preceded him in the coach’s chair, our basketball program needed a serious shaking up. His first five years at IU, in my opinion, established a unifying presence that could be felt throughout the state from the farmhouse to the statehouse. The capitol of Indiana moved down highway 37 from Indianapolis to Bloomington in those years.

    But enough reminiscing, the evolution of the college game was accelerated by the addition of the shot clock — something RMK could not abide, nor could he adjust his style quickly enough to accommodate at IU. So the shot clock should be noted as a nemesis in his legacy. I have often thought that if coach had asked for a sabbatical and taken a year off to re-tool, he would have made the transition and would still be in Assembly Hall.

    Let me finish by noting that Knight was the most entertaining speaker in the state. His appearances in front of retirement communities, the students, and alumni and boosters produced some of the most raucous laughs ever enjoyed.

    I miss the coach a lot, and his successor made that emotion even stronger.

  4. Keep in mind that I have watched Knight’s entire IU career and once counted myself as one of his biggest fans. Sure, I was embarrased when he threw the chair, but the officiating in that game really was that bad (something most people don’t remember).

    Something changed in the 90s, however, that changed my mind. His eccentricity became abuse (I heard first-hand reports from the locker room), he quit trying to win championships (his decision to stay and not go to New Mexico State marked his ‘retirement’), but worst of all, he considered himself to be more important than Indiana basketball. I wanted him out starting in 1995.

    Knight is the greatest living coach and has earned the record but that is worthless compared to abusing people and Indiana basketball.

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