The late Bob Knight had as many notable quotes as he had wins throughout his time as an NCAA Basketball head coach. Here are some of the best ones.
In the wake of the recent passing of former coach Bob Knight, many have taken the time to reflect on the impact he made on college basketball. Bob Knight is among college basketball’s all-time greatest coaches, and he has left a lasting legacy on the sport. He amassed over 900 career wins, along with winning three national championships throughout his time coaching. Along with his coaching abilities, Knight is well-known for his short temper and unmatched passion for the game. This combination made him one of the most polarizing figures in the sport throughout his forty-plus year career.
But Knight’s passion for the game wasn’t just limited to on the court. His passion was felt – and seen – off the court, including in press conferences. And with that, he proved to be one of the most quotable coaches in college basketball history.
And many of those quotes continue to linger through the minds of many, all these years later. Here are some of Bob Knight’s best quotes.
“When my time on earth is done, and my activities here are past, I want them to bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass!”
Throughout his career, Knight always took the opportunity to speak his mind, and he was never one to shy away from critics. Though his time on earth has just come to an end, it is not yet clear if this wish of Knight’s will be fulfilled.
“If I came to recruit your son, I would tell you, your wife, and your son that I will be the most demanding coach your son can play for.”
Knight’s unmatched passion for the game of basketball – and winning – made him an extremely tough and demanding coach. And in true Bob Knight fashion, he didn’t shy away from this aspect of his coaching style.
“Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one.”
Toughness, including mental toughness, was a quintessential part of Knight’s teams throughout his career. This quote highlights just how much Knight valued mental preparation and toughness on the court.
“You don’t play against opponents; you play against the game of basketball.”
“Your biggest opponent isn’t the other guy. It’s human nature.”
Knight’s unique approach to the game saw him view opponents in a different manner than most. Knight felt the key to success came through human nature, and how players are able to master the techniques of basketball on and off the court.
“All of us learn to write in the second grade. Most of us go on to greater things.”
Unsurprisingly, Knight had plenty of run-ins with the media thanks to his fiery personality. And in true Bob Knight fashion, he had no issue calling out reporters.
“I enjoyed needling the press. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t have done it. Writers have rarely played, so as a coach, you have antagonistic feelings about some guy writing up the story of the game who’s never even attempted to play it.”
Knight also had no issue with openly mentioning his enjoyment of feuding with the press. Knight was well aware of the fact that many members of the press hadn’t had the experience of playing basketball, and, naturally, he had some negative opinions of them as a result.
“If the NBA was on channel five and a bunch of frogs making love were on channel four, I’d watch the frogs, even if they were coming in fuzzy.”
Bob Knight always made it known that he greatly preferred college basketball over the NBA, but he also didn’t shy away from sharing his thoughts on the NBA.
“Everybody hears, but few listen.”
Basketball players often have to respond to coaching feedback and make adjustments to their style of play should they want to improve. Knight was not only well aware of this, but also well aware of how few can successfully make these adjustments.
“I’m a teacher. My mother was a teacher. I spent 40 years as a teacher.”
Knight viewed the concept of “coaching” differently than most. Knight emphasized that being a coach means being a teacher more than anything.
“We just got our ass beat by a much better team. It happens once in a while. Does every team win every game?”
Knight knew that winning every game is unlikely to happen no matter who you are. But like everything else, he didn’t mince words regarding the matter.
“I’ve never predicted anything. All I have ever said is, that we will do the very best we can.”
In line with many of his coaching quirks, Knight always made sure to put emphasis on effort and leaving everything on the court.