By now, you've probably seen A.J. Guyton's letter to his former coach, Bob Knight. If you haven't, Terry Hutchens put together a post that included the letter in full. You can see that HERE.
I've read that letter two or three times over the last few days, and every time, it touches me. In a day and age when college and professional sports are full of entitled kids who have been allowed to do whatever they want their whole lives, it was incredibly refreshing to see Guyton's take on basketball, life and Knight.
Guyton, a talented guard at the time, was close to choosing Michigan State when he came on his visit to IU. Knight simply asked him if he was going to play at IU or not. He didn't make any promises he couldn't keep, but kept the ones he did make.
Recruiting is so different these days. Every kid wants his moment in the sun. They all want to be recruited by everybody, they all want eyes on them when they make their announcements. Having grown up in this generation, I can't blame a lot of them. It's just how things are nowadays.
But I can't help but to lament that things aren't the way they used to be. For all of Knight's shortcomings, he was great for Indiana University. Guyton's stories show that. Those that played for him will forever love him. Those that chose not to play for him will forever regret it. That's how special the guy was.
Just look at how one of Knight's former players handles himself now. Guyton averaged nearly 20 points per game at Indiana. He was a star. And yet in his letter to Knight, he showed a kind of humility we rarely see with athletes now. He lamented the fact he never won a Big Ten championship or advanced past the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He praised all of the champions from Indiana.
It's special stuff. I finished Guyton's letter with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. Having grown up watching and admiring Guyton, his words touched me like athletes' rarely do.
Do I think Knight will come back? I doubt it. Guyton knows it's a long shot.
"No, he probably won't," Guyton told me.
But he tried, and that's important. It's also important to remind Indiana fans -- especially young ones -- how important Knight was to Indiana. Guyton makes great points about the gap between Indiana then and Indiana now. Something must be done. In some way, this must be reconciled. It would be good for everybody involved in the program, both then and now.
I know I'm hardly the first one to write about this issue, and I know it's still a long shot that Knight will ever return. But if he ever does, it will be a special moment, and it will forever bridge the gap Guyton speaks of in his letter.
Maybe it's not time yet, but hopefully some day, it will be.