Knight interview overblown

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 2, 2000

You would have thought John Wooden announced he was getting back into coaching. ESPN telecast an interview with Bobby Knight Tuesday and it was as if the world was waiting anxiously to hear what the man had to say, as if all of a sudden Vince McMahon was going to come down from the ceiling and introduce Knight into the ring.

&uot;Ladies and gentlemen, from parts unknown, depending on what kind of mood he is in, wearing the red sweater, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Knight!&uot;

The only thing missing from the buildup the interview received was Geraldo Rivera and a safe.

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ESPN radio used most of its show that night to dissect every word Knight said.

And one news show even had political analyst James Carville talking about the show.

It was just an interview. It wasn’t Bob Knight striking someone or playing shot put with a chair, with or without Neil Reed sitting in it.

Knight was interviewed by Roy Firestone (I still see visions of him making Roy Tidwell cry in &uot;Jerry Maguire&uot;) and Digger Phelps.

Phelps even brought up the situation with Woody Hayes, where the volatile Ohio State coach punched a Clemson player in a bowl game on the sidelines after the player had intercepted a pass.

It was Hayes’ final game as Ohio State coach.

Changing gears for a second, what is the difference between Hayes hitting a Clemson coach and Indiana assistant coach Jack Carlisle tripping New York Knick guard Latrell Spreewell during the third quarter of their game Monday?

But back to Knight and the famous ”zero-tolerance.”

Knight says he can control his temper. So what else is he going to say?

”A lot of people have problems with temper … If I’m really upset and really mad all the time, then that (anger) controls me, but I really don’t think that’s the situation,” Knight said. ”In most cases, I’m pretty good. I’ve obviously made a mistake here and a mistake there, but I don’t think those mistakes define the person.”

OK. Then how about you playing at Purdue with hated rival coach Gene Keady all over the officials when a call in an intense situation does not go your way, Bobby.

That’s a little different then sitting down with Firestone and Phelps on midcourt of the Indiana gym.

Then again, if it would have been Jim Rhome or Dick Vitale, that may have been a test.

By now everyone knows Knight’s past. Noboby knows the future.

Wouldn’t you love to have a seat in the president’s box at Indiana home games this year?

Those guys are going to be downing plenty of antacid pills.

I can just see Indiana officials the first time a call doesn’t go Bobby’s way.

I assure you a creature in that room won’t be stirring a bit.

Then again, let’s say Bobby does keep his cool. (Programmed laughter here). If he does keep his cool and doesn’t question a call in the old Knight way, is that unfair to this year’s team?

If I’m a player and I just got a very bad call, I’m looking for my beloved to come unglued. And when he doesn’t, how does that affect my game?

It’s going to be an interesting season for Indiana basketball. Something tells me the Hoosiers will find themselves on the television screen a number of times. Maybe those Indiana school officials are not so dumb after all.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at