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Bob Knight's rage toward Mike Krzyzewski ”I did more for you than I did for my children”

Why legendary coach Bob Knight couldn't stand his main protégé
Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski 

Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski 

Mike Krzyzewski is the most successful member of the Bob Knight coaching tree. But unlike most coaching mentorships, this one is marked with a lot of pain and hatred. Here's where it all went wrong. 

Team USA

Talking to Adrian Wojnarowski, while promoting his new book "Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski," author Ian O'Connor revealed a few nuggets that unveil a lot about the fractured relationship between Knight and Coach K. 

O'Connor shared one of his sources for the book was a person very close to Knight. Someone who spent years with him and shared how obsessed Knight was with Krzyzewski.

That person said, "We would go on car rides for four hours, and three and a half of the hours, Knight would be shredding Krzyzewski.” The Olympic thing was a big thing. He [Knight] felt, you coach it once, and you hand that thing on. It's not a lifetime appointment. When K coached again in London in '12 and Rio in '16, Knight thought that was BS, and he should've handed it off to Popovich. 

Ian O'Connor, The Woj Pod

Krzyzewski didn't talk to O'Connor for the book (although Coach K told him he wouldn't ask anyone from his life not to talk to O'Connor), but I suspect he'd say the fact he took the job after Team USA fell apart probably gave Krzyzewski the right to stay for more than one Olympic cycle. To remind you, Coach K took over Team USA after the disappointment of winning the bronze in Athens in '04.

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His first tournament was the World Cup in '06 - yet another bronze. But after that, Coach K and Jerry Colangelo managed to convince the biggest stars in the NBA to come back and play for the national team. The '08 team featured Kobe and Jason Kidd who accepted to lead LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Chris Paul, and the rest to the gold. 

Coach Knight wasn't the only one who thought Krzyzewski unfairly monopolized his position with Team USA. It became a great recruiting tool for Duke, and many saw it as unfair. But something else about Team USA marked the true end of their relationship. 

"I did more for you than I did for my children”

As it turns out, Bob Knight wanted to be a part of the '08 story. He asked Coach K for a part-time scouting job. O'Connor heard two versions of the story; one that Coach K said no, and the other one, which O'Connor is prone to believe, that Coach K never responded to Knight - he ghosted him. Knight's disappointment was immense. 

'I got you the Army job, I helped you to get the Duke job, I hired you at Indiana as a grad assistant, I raised you in this business. I did all this for your career.' ... Knight was really upset about that. 'I did more for you than I did for my children, I ask for one thing down the road, and I got nothing for you.'

Ian O'Connor, The Woj Pod

There were other moments in their relationship that contributed to the fraction, and they all seem to paint the same picture. Knight felt he was owed more respect and consideration than what Krzyzewski gave him. 

To be fair, Bob Knight is not a man with a lot of patience, understanding, and diplomatic skills. The man is the definition of a "my way or the highway" mindset. It's sad to see two great coaches fall out, particularly when their stories are so intertwined. 

As always, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. We hope the two can make amends before it's too late. The horrible events happening in Ukraine remind us not to take anything for granted. Swallow our pride and say three of the most powerful words in the world. "I am sorry"


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