SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — People in KELOLAND are reflecting upon the life of basketball coaching legend Bob Knight, who died Wednesday night at the age of 83.
In 2016, Knight was one of the sports celebrities who visited Sioux Falls to take part in The Legends for Kids sports clinics. A Sioux Falls man who spent time with Knight back then, had his respect for the coach sometimes stretched thin by Knight’s behavior.
Jim Clark was a volunteer driver for The Legends sports clinics in 2016 when he picked up Knight at the Sioux Falls Airport.
“So, when he came down off the escalator at the airport, I always ask them, ‘How would you like to be addressed?’ And he said, ‘You can call me Mr. Knight. You can call me Bob, but don’t effing call me Bobby,'” Clark said.
Clark then drove Knight to an autograph session at the Sanford Pentagon in his Mercedes SUV, a vehicle that Clark says didn’t meet Knight’s expectations.
“He goes, ‘This is a dang little car. Don’t you have anything bigger for me?’ I said, ‘Well, no, this is it. But you don’t have to ride in it very long,'” Clark said.
Clark says he was never really sure if Knight’s overbearing ways reflected his true personality or if it was all an act. During The Legends clinic, Knight’s feistiness was on full display when he was asked about the NBA playoffs by KELOLAND Sports.
“The first four games of the Finals. Have you been able to watch?”
“The Finals of what?” Knight asked.
“I don’t even know who plays in the NBA,” Knight said.
Are you not particularly interested in the NBA?
“No, I have no interest in the NBA,” Knight said.
“Why? I’d rather go fishing. Rather play golf,” Knight said.
Clark says Knight invited him to a day of fishing with The Legends sponsors at Lake Poinsett.
“It sounded like a three-hour ride up to it and fish all day and three hours back and I really didn’t prefer to spend six hours in a car with him that long. Do my job and move on,” Clark said.
Clark says Knight leaves behind a complicated legacy. His success on the basketball court is sometimes overshadowed by his volatile nature.
“There wasn’t much gray in his world. It was either black or white and either you like him, or you didn’t. But he got results for a while, but he rubbed people wrong,” Clark said.
Clark says Knight was direct with the kids he coached at the Legends clinic and did a good job of teaching them basketball skills.
Knight won three national titles with the University of Indiana. But his outbursts on the court often got him into trouble. The school fired him in 2000 when he grabbed an Indiana student in the hallway for saying something Knight thought was disrespectful.