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Bob Knight’s impact on players outside the game of basketball

Former player says Bob Knight’s legacy goes beyond basketball

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — The memorial for Bob Knight has continued to grow in front of Assembly Hall ahead of Tuesday night’s home opener against Florida Gulf Coast University.

The legacy of legendary coach will permeate throughout the entire season.

Former player Keith Smart shared several stories about his experiences with Knight off the basketball court that will also be part of his legacy. “Learning and playing and developing and being around him he talked the game of life bigger than anything else,” Smart said.

Smart says Knight was always checking on him, making sure that he was going to class and getting his education. That level of caring did not stop after he left campus.

“My son got sick, was in hospital in Bloomington, and coach Knight called every day. Every day, he called, checking on myself, my wife, wanted to know how my son was doing,” Smart said.

When Smart’s house in Bloomington burned down and he lost everything, “He said, ‘I’ve got a place here if you need a place to stay.’ I was still playing. ‘If you need a place to stay I’ve got a place here for you to stay in.’ But, I was going to stay at my in-laws, but the fact that he went that way in those two instances where, you know, he was doing things outside the game of basketball,” Smart said.

Those will be two instances Smart will remember forever. He’ll also remember the advice that Knight gave him when he decided to hang up his playing shoes and start coaching. “‘When you go and you get into coaching don’t try to be me. I need you to be you. Coach with your personality, but take the principles that you’ve learned by being around me.’”

This year’s team will enter Assembly Hall in the shadow of the championship banners Knight hung, and with his initials on their chest, trying to live up to the level of excellence and legend he brought to the program.