Earlier this month, friends roasted Bob Huggins in the name of charity. Saturday, it was Bob Knight’s turn.
Wait. Make fun of Bob Knight? These must’ve been some really close friends.
The legendary college basketball coach returned to Indiana for an event to raise money for Westchester Saint Joseph, the private high school that produced Indiana players such as Isiah Thomas and Daryl Thomas. Plenty of zingers and one-liners were thrown Knight’s way by guys such as Thomas, Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas (who emceed the event) , George Raveling, Jerry Colangelo and Jud Heathcote. There’s some video of the event, but much of it’s boring (the best one I’ve seen if Knight telling a joke).
Thankfully, the Indianapolis Star’s Jeff Rabjohns was one hand for Heathcote’s turn. The former Michigan State coach turned in some stellar one-liners:
- “Bob is a self-made man. This relieves God of a tremendous responsibility.”
- “With his intelligence and charisma, he could have been anyone he wanted to be. Why he chose himself, that’s a great mystery.”
- “Most people when the first meet him, don’t like Bob. After they get to know him, they hate him.”
- “We used to go have a beer after Big Ten meetings. After a while, the bartender would ask Bob to leave so they could start happy hour.”
The best non-Heathcote lines came from Bilas: “Coach Knight has requested that none of the roasters bring up his past behavioral issues or his considerable use of profanity … so thank you everybody for coming and good night.” and Raveling: “I’ve known Bob for 35 years. If any of you need a friend, get a dog.”
Knight also received a warm reception in general from the Indiana crowd, some of whom undoubtedly wish he’d never been fired as coach.
Perhaps that warm reception was what allowed Knight to stay in a good mood for the event. He even made fun of himself.
“A guy and I bought a furniture store the next week,” Knight said. “We sold a hell of a lot of furniture because our motto was, ‘You buy a couch and I’ll throw in a chair.’ “