Bob Knight’s return to Bloomington

Braydyn Lents, Sports Writer

On Sep. 13, 2000, the movie Remember The Titans were on the top of the movie box office list and the most popular song at the time was the forgotten song Music by Madonna. However, in Bloomington, former Indiana University President Myles Brand pulled the plug on IU men’s basketball head coach, Bob Knight. This firing would have such a program and national impact on college basketball and on the Indiana Hoosiers. This firing would make those in Bloomington protest for weeks on end, those at IU wouldn’t even go to class because of these protests. This event would deeply impact Knight’s reputation especially when he was hired at Texas Tech in 2001, ending with his abusive behavior just continuing on as it did at IU for eight more years. This event would drastically change IU basketball as the team has gone to only one National Championship between 2000 and 2018.  

The firing transpired amidst allegations of him choking his own player, Neil Reed, in full-on rage during a practice, along with an allegation of Knight abusing a young fan near Assembly Hall during the first semester, after the fan began yelling, “Hey Knight, what’s going on?” These two incidents would mark the end of a 29 year run of hate, love, throwing chairs, and treating the media as a class act, while also verbally abusing his players, changing the course of college basketball and the state of Indiana forever. Knight won three National Championships, 11 Big Ten Titles, one NIT, and now he’s back at the place he forever despised. It can be hard to talk nice about him, but this generation’s views on Knight are completely different compared to older generations.

To the older folks in Indiana, Bob Knight was a symbol like God. He had more power than this state’s Governor, National Guard, and even the State Police Department! Through every incident, there was no one who could stop him. He became more relentless on and sometimes off the floor as well, his anger was represented more by just throwing a chair. There was a spark in Knight that the older folks loved, his leadership in helping struggling players excel in and out of school was always his mission. He needed to be strict, just so players could not just listen to him, but take the command of a veteran. This leadership quality that Knight showed throughout his coaching career, made the people of Indiana confident of what he was doing, even throughout the mid-80s and early 90s. This traces back to his days at Army. The hard worker who dedicated school, work, play, and life throughout his courses of training would soon become a better man and a more mature man with good manners. People loved him because they thought he did a lot of good, due to his hard work and dedication to helping others. 

 To our generation, however, Bob Knight is back, and the brighter side of him can now be seen in public. He has made recent appearances at The Bluebird, Cloverleaf, Mother Bear’s, and periodically makes the trip to former player John Laskowski’s Culver’s from time to time. Bob Knight is happier than he ever has been in his life. He’s been more compliant, and patient, shocking to say for a guy who would be more emotional than fitting to deal with on the sidelines. Bob Knight was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease back in the spring, but is only on the first stage of his progression, the days with Knight will get worse, and worse (so enjoy Bob Knight while he still has his memory, because his health will never be the same.) But as Knight enjoys the time he still has left, he has found a better lifestyle to choose than just basketball. He made the whole crowd at the Bluebird feel gleeful to just see him again. His humor is still the same, not so shockingly he still cusses from time to time. Bob Knight now has a newer image on Indiana fans who do see him.

 If Knight is reading this I say thank you, Bobby, thank you for being a good source of information, caring about your kids and their educations, thank you for the championships you have won. Thank you for bringing IU basketball back. Now again, my generation will never say this, but I loved you at Texas Tech, I have watched your show, I have seen you on TV, and I think you made Indiana better again. We are proud but you make us bleed cream and crimson again. 

Thank you, Mr. Bob Knight, no matter what our opinion is we welcome you back home.