Bobby Knight’s a horse’s ass. But we know that, of course. I knew it long before I ever met him and you always knew it, too.
I loved Bobby Knight growing up. Remember watching that undefeated Indiana team with Scott May, Quinn Buckner, Kent Benson, Bobby Wilkerson, Tom Abernethy — the first team that I can ever recall knowing a starting lineup. We knew Knight was a horse’s behind back then, but man were his teams well-coached.
He yelled and cursed at refs, which I hated, naturally, because my dad was one. He once threw a chair across the court mid-game because he was having a temper tantrum. He was also brutal on his players. Just all over them, all the time, and sometimes it got physical. Nevertheless, when I looked back into one of my old journals, back in 1978, I see that I once wrote on a piece of paper that I wanted to play for him.
But I was a child then, and over time, I did the Bible thing and “gave up my childish ways.” That meant looking at Knight as a guy, not some iconic coach.
No chance I’d ever play for Knight. I wasn’t good enough. But I did my thing, played Division, III, got into the basketball media business and began to continue my life of basketball, basketball and only basketball, professionally. Anyway, I’d always observed Knight from afar, but never met him — until 2003. I was covering the woeful Warriors back then and Knight attended one of their practices.
The Warriors head coach was Eric Musselman, and Knight had known Musselman’s father, Bill Musselman, who had coached at Minnesota. Knight was in his second year at Texas Tech and was only starting to burn his bridges there, I assume. The Warriors’ PR director asked a couple of us writers if we’d like to talk to Knight. Of course we did.
There were about three of us surrounding Knight as he leaned against a wall. One of my colleagues asked Knight a question that he completely ignored. Instead, Knight looked out onto the Warriors’ practice court and saw Phil Hubbard, an assistant coach.
“Let me tell you something,” Knight said, interrupting the questioner. “That guy right there … Phil Hubbard. He’s one of the five greatest players to ever come out of the Big Ten. That guy could play.”
“Who are the other four?” I asked.
“That’s none of your goddamn business,” Knight spat back. “Don’t worry about that. You don’t need to know that. All you need to know is Hubbard is one of the best motherfuckers who ever came out of the Big Ten.”
That’s it. That’s the story. Bobby Knight once made a dick out of me in fewer than five minutes. So there’s that.
Right on Stieny, ask the hard questions and let him play the asshole.
Cruzer, in the 209
This is who he is.
He didn’t make a duck out of you. He continued to make a sick out of himself.
Man. He took a shit on your honest curiosity! Good story. Unfortunate ending.