Many people are upset over Bobby Knight's outlandish comments regarding current Kentucky coach John Calipari, and rightfully so.
For Knight such outlandish behavior is par for the course. Knight has never bypassed an opportunity to denigrate Kentucky basketball.
Knight, basketball's quintessential bully, has never gotten over the loss his 1975 team suffered at the hands of Kevin Grevey and company in the 1975 Mideast Regional Finals.
Knight considers the 1975 Indiana team to be his best team, and they lost to the University of Kentucky in Dayton with a spot in the Final Four at stake.
Up until that moment Knight had owned the Kentucky Wildcats, winning his first five games against Kentucky as head coach of Indiana, after losing to the Wildcats earlier in his career at Army.
That loss in the Mideast Regional Finals marked
the beginning of a twelve game span against Joe Hall's Wildcats were Knight would lose eight of twelve games.
Hall had to derive some satisfaction in winning eight of his final twelve games against Knight, given Knight (ever the bully) had slapped Hall in the back of the head during an earlier meeting at Assembly Hall in Bloomington during that '74-'75 season.
Knight likely felt some relief to see Hall retire at the conclusion of the 1984-85 campaign, feeling he would gain the upper hand against his nemesis. This was not to be, as Knight would lose nine of fifteen games in the post-Joe Hall era.
Winning only ten times in twenty-seven games gives a coach a lot of time to stew, especially if the coach is prone to such behavior, as well as violent outbursts.
Knight's 1976 team would win the NCAA title; but it will forever be tainted, as his best team was defeated by the Wildcats the spring prior.
Knight would again win the NCAA title in 1981, with Isiah Thomas guiding the team. The team had been defeated by Kentucky in December of that season, in Bloomington.
Knight's '87 title defenders were welcomed to reality early in the '87-'88 season with a loss to the Wildcats in the Big Four Classic, played in Indianapolis.
Why does Knight continue to lash out at Kentucky?
No matter how many titles he won, no matter how many games he won two things are a constant.
First, Knight's successes on the court, no matter how grand the stage, will not allow him to escape the long shadow of the Kentucky Wildcats.
Second, Knight's own boorish behavior leads him to attempt to castigate others in a farcical attempt to get the spotlight off of his own behaviors.
Knight's latest attempt to paint the Wildcats in a dark light comes as the program is poised to become the first to reach the 2000 victory mark. In this writer's opinion that is no coincidence. It is Knight's lame attempt to try to take away from Kentucky's accomplishments on the court.
What has Calipari done? He turned in a player that had an agent, reporting the violation to his school and the NCAA. Calipari also played a player that was twice cleared by the NCAA and who was considered by the NCAA to be eligible during the NCAA tournament.
Calipari has done one other thing. When Knight began slinging mud at him, he refused to play Knight's game and get his hands dirty over Knight's petty jealousy of the program that will forever haunt him.
When asked about Knight's comments Calipari told reporters "I'm a big fan. Respect him as a basketball coach. Always have. Matter of fact, I took my staff down to Texas Tech. Spent a day. Watched them practice."
Calipari later added, "I don't agree with what he said, but it doesn't change how I feel about him."
When examining Robert Montgomery Knight biographies his basketball acumen and prowess at winning games are overshadowed by the extreme behaviors he exhibited during his tenure at Indiana. Knight has proven himself to be a bully.
Knight has attempted to bully game officials, the media, other coaches, other teams' players, officials at his school and his own players. His tantrums, throwing chairs, choking players, and other exhibitions of anti-social behaviors are all evidence of behaviors that are far more questionable than anything John Calipari has done.
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