King Kaufman’s Sports Daily

Good riddance, Bob Knight. The legendary bully and hypocrite quits midseason, something he'd never tolerate from his players. Figures.

Topics: Basketball,

Bob Knight is gone, and good riddance.

I know. Winningest coach in men’s Division I basketball history. Graduated an absurdly high percentage of his players. Never, ever, neverevevever cheated. Did nice things that nobody ever heard about such as taking care of former player Landon Turner, whom — as, uh, everybody knows — Knight helped after a crippling car accident.

Great coach, great teacher. Good riddance.

Knight, 67, abruptly resigned Monday as coach at Texas Tech, citing exhaustion and handing the team over to his designated successor, his 36-year-old son, Pat. The younger Knight says he’d talked his father out of retiring a year ago and again a month ago. Not this time. So now Pat Knight gets to follow a legend never having established himself as anything other than the coach’s kid. Good luck, kid. You’re going to need it.

The good news for Pat Knight — who for all I know will become the next John Wooden — is that the world can now safely go back to ignoring Texas Tech men’s basketball. That’s what it had been doing way back when. I mean Sunday.

For all the talk of an era ending with the last of the tough, old-school coaches walking off into the sunset, Bob Knight had ceased to be relevant years ago. For most of the last 20 years, he’s only gotten his name in the papers when he pulled off his trademark move, bullying someone who for whatever reason wasn’t in a position to fight back.

The signature moment of this last part of his career was the 1995 press conference he held up for several minutes while he publicly berated some NCAA volunteer for passing along the incorrect information that Knight wouldn’t appear. It was vintage Knight: He was whaling on probably the single most powerless person in the building.

Knight and his supporters will talk your ear off about following the rules, doing things the right way, about how that’s what’s important, and about how all anybody wants to remember is that he threw a chair or slammed a phone or slapped a player or chewed out some clerk.



They’ll tell you that his insistence on following the rules is the reason Knight, the one guy old Diogenes was looking for with his lamp, didn’t get to coach the same kind of talent the other all-time great coaches did. He couldn’t and wouldn’t compete with the cheaters for the elite talent.

To use one of Knight’s favorite words: Bullshit.

Certainly that was part of it. Plenty of 18-year-old kids who can write their own ticket are going to take the best deal they can get without giving much thought to the NCAA rulebook. But come on. In the 28 years since Isiah Thomas went to Indiana, not one future NBA All-Star was honest enough to go with Knight and play by the rules?

Elite athletes, honest and otherwise, knew that they could go plenty of places and get top-flight coaching, first-rate facilities and a shot at a championship — and an education, if they wanted one — without being screamed at and grabbed and head-butted and choked and whatever other nonsense.

It wouldn’t have been cheating for Knight to coach in the NBA, put his coaching methods and basketball acumen to the test in the best league in the world, but he wouldn’t do that for the same reason he didn’t bother with NBA-bound players in Bloomington and Lubbock: He couldn’t bully NBA players.

The Knight chorus — which, it’s important to note, includes most of his former players — will go into iambic pentameter about discipline and molding young men. But who was more undisciplined than Bob Knight?

If he had an ounce of self-control, the slightest ability or desire to tame his own impulses, his career would be ending not with his slinking off in the middle of the season in a relative basketball backwater, but as the much-respected coach of a perennial power, if not Indiana than some other giant in the Big Ten, ACC or Big East.

If Bob Knight had a player with the same lack of self-discipline that Bob Knight the coach had, the kid wouldn’t have made it to Thanksgiving of his freshman year.

Convicted felons aside, Bob Knight is probably the single famous sports figure I’d least want my kids to grow up to be like.

Even the way he’s leaving is vintage Knight. He just couldn’t take it anymore, he said, he was worn down. So he’s going out on his own terms, “My Way” playing in the background.

He gets some leeway for being 67 years old, but he was 66 and 11 months five months ago when he signed a three-year extension. He’d been through 47 college basketball seasons as a player, assistant coach and head coach. He couldn’t anticipate he wouldn’t get through this one?

He’s saying his departure now gives Pat Knight a chance to coach the team for 10 games, get them ready for next year. Two Texas Tech starters, leading scorer Martin Zeno and Charlie Burgess, are seniors. Did they sign up for the end of their careers to be a valuable learning experience for next year’s coach, possibly at the cost of a Tournament bid?

You think Knight would cotton to one of his players or coaches abandoning the team at midseason, with a Tournament bid still in play? No chance. That’s not doing things the right way.

Bob Knight loves the right way, loves the rules. It’s just that most of them have never applied to him.

Good riddance.

Previous column: Why is Naomi Campbell dancing with a lizard?

- – - – - – - – - – - -

  • Bookmark http://www.salon.com/sports to get the new Kaufman column every day.
  • Get a Salon Sports RSS feed.
  • Visit the King Kaufman Sports Daily archive.
  • Discuss this column and the sports news of the day in Table Talk.
  • To receive the Sports Daily Newsletter, send an e-mail to kingnewsletter@salon.com.

  • King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

    More Related Stories

    Featured Slide Shows

    • Share on Twitter
    • Share on Facebook
    • 1 of 14
    • Close
    • Fullscreen
    • Thumbnails

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

      One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

      In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

      Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

      We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

      On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

      Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

      The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

      Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

      While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

      As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

      Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

      Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

      13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

      Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

      There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

    • Recent Slide Shows

    Comments

    0 Comments

    Comment Preview

    Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>