Now I don’t claim to know a lot about college basketball.
I do watch it, especially during conference tournaments and March Madness. I’ll watch Alabama, because I’m an Alabama football fan, and an Alabama fan from any aspect. So I will support “my school."
I’ll watch North Carolina, because they have one of the best storied programs in the history of the NCAA, and I do claim to be a Tar Heel basketball fan. And there are other schools I’ll watch on occasion, particularly the big matchups.
I don’t keep up with college basketball recruiting or any of that stuff. I probably couldn’t even tell you more than a dozen coaches off the top of my head in college basketball to be honest.
But I do know one thing for sure: The game lost a legend yesterday.
Yeah, yeah, I know Bobby will still be around, lending a helping hand to his son. He will be there to raise money and promote the game ‘til he dies. But his presence, as much as it will still be in the game, will not be quite the same.
I know it was not the correct thing for a coach to do, or for anyone to do, when a player got choked in the middle of the game. I know tossing chairs across the court was an outlandish act for someone who was supposed to be a leader and role model for young athletes and fans alike.
But it added something that the game is lacking in many aspects—passion.
True passion in the game has been lost, for a number of reasons. Players don’t stay as long anymore, so it doesn’t seem to be a priority or an importance as it should be for them. In fact, some don’t even enter the game at all, opting to jump straight and join what has largely become nothing more than the thugs of the NBA.
Don’t get me wrong now. There are plenty of great teachers still left in the game—Coach “K”, Roy Williams, and Billy Donovan just to name three. But overall, where is the passion? Where is there a man out there who has the aplomb that Knight had?
He had such a style about him where he could defy the media, subdue officials, and demand respect of every young man who fell under his reign. Above all, he was a teacher.
No one could ride the fence with Bobby Knight. You either loved him or hated him. You never just thought of him as ok. This man was domineering over the sport. Most people will always remember him as a Hoosier, although he had stints with other schools.
Nine hundred and two times he walked away from the court victorious. More times than that he walked away from the court bigger than the game itself. He was a legend in his own time, a feat accomplished by very few on any level, from any aspect.
Though I'm no expert, I respectfully compose these words about a man who is not abandoning the game, but rather one who has finished his great contributions to it from a coaching standpoint—moving forward to what I am sure are more self-sacrifices to better the sport for all who love it.