February 23, 1985: Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight's epic temper is on display for thousands to see during a live game and on TV. Knight did many things in his career, but the night 30 years ago that he threw a chair onto the court when the Hoosiers played the Purdue Boilmakers definitely stands out.
First, see the incident:
Then understand what led up to it. The Boilermakers seized a quick lead of 11-2 and are embarrassing the Hoosiers on their own floor. But it was only 4 minutes into the contest and Knight was already working himself up into a fury. When three fouls are called on Indiana in the next 58 seconds, and one on an inbound after a foul, Knight goes crazy. He cusses at officials and earns himself a technical foul. He becomes even more mad and picks up a folding chair from the Hoosiers' bench, and hurls it so it slides across the court toward the wheelchair section. The arena, the players and everyone watching were in shock. Knight was ejected, and probably realizing what he had done, he left the court peacefully.
Indiana would go on to lose 72-63, but no one remembers the rest of the game. Knight once called the incident "overrated". Well that was probably because this wasn't the only incident when Knight lost control. In 1979 he was charged, tried and convicted for hitting a Puerto Rican policeman before a practice at the Pan American Games. In 1981 he shoved an LSU fan into a garbage can in Philadelphia during the Final Four. During a 1987 NCAA Tournament game he slammed his fist into the scorer's table and is fined $10,000 by the NCAA. In a national TV interview in 1988, Knight says, "If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it." Then in 1992, he gave a mock whipping to Calbert Cheaney, a black player, during practice at the NCAA West Regional in Albuquerque. In 1994, he headbutts his own player, Sherron Wilkerson, while screaming at him on the bench. Then, in 2000, a videotape is released showing Knight choking one of his former players, Neil Reed, in a '97 practice.
The chair incident still stands out because people had not seen that type of behavior during a game from a basketball coach before. Here's to you Bobby Knight and letting your temper get the best of you.