February 27th, 2014 11:30 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Arkansas, Kentucky
Tags: Bob Knight, ESPN, IU, Kentucky Arkansas, SEC
Bobby Knight hates Kentucky. For several years he wouldn’t say the name of the school while doing his ESPN job. And he’s no fan of John Calipari, either, having said in 2009: “We’ve got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he’s still coaching. I really don’t understand that.”
So we suspect you’ll have an easier time understanding why it’s a big deal for Knight to serve as color analyst for tonight’s ESPN broadcast of Arkansas’ visit to Rupp Arena. UK fans aren’t likely to roll out the blue carpet for the irascible, lippy ex-Indiana coach.
Rece Davis — who will call the game with Knight — says the whole thing has been “manufactured.”
“I don’t see it being anything more than a manufactured issue… I just think to manufacture something out of comments from several years ago, I’m not going to spend a lot of time worrying about it. I don’t see where it’s really that pertinent anymore…
There could be a vocal minority of people that might yell and boo and scream. But he has without fail in our SEC travels treated people with tremendous graciousness and has been accommodating for pictures and autographs… People are sometimes surprised when they meet him how gracious and how funny he can be.”
Well, sure they’re surprised. He spent decades being a jerk on and off the court. This one’s definitely not safe for work, but if you watch these outtakes from a Knight-hosted golf show during his days at IU, you’ll see what a gracious and accommodating fella he can be.
As The Lexington Herald-Leader’s John Clay wrote yesterday: “I am sure the Big Blue Nation will treat ESPN color analyst Bob Knight with dignity and respect when the legendary Indiana coach visits for Thursday night’s Kentucky-Arkansas game. After all, hasn’t Knight always treated people the way he would want to be treated?”
Exactly, like the last rant in the clip above.
ESPN had to put out a statement supporting its decision to assign Knight to a Kentucky game: ”We expect Bob Knight to provide fans with expert and informative analysis as he has done on other game assignments.”
Look, typically we’re not supportive of booing and jeering, but if Wildcat fans let Knight have it for his insults over the years and his once childish refusal to say “Kentucky” on the air, well, so be it. He’s earned it.
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