1992 Bobby Knight Home
Sometime in the early 90's I began listening to a local sports call in radio show out of Fort Myers. One day the host offered a free round of golf with him for anyone who could answer the question of which professional golfer had achieved the largest margin of victory in a PGA sanctioned event.
With my knowledge of golf history I knew it was Olathabal so I called in. After I gave him the answer he wanted to know if I knew how many strokes he had won by. The number 12 just popped into my head so I guessed 12. He accused me of having a golf encyclopedia in front of me, but I told him that no, it just popped into my head.
Anyway I played with him and his friend twice at local courses and he was pretty impressed with my game and mentioned on the radio that I was just a little guy wearing tennis shoes and how I gripped it and ripped it 270 yds off the tee. I played it down saying I'd have to hit a manhole cover to hit it that far.
I started calling in daily. One day he asked me what I thought of Bobby Knight being chosen to coach some national team at some event. I'm thinking it was the Olympics but that was in 1984 so I don't remember what event he was coaching for but I replied Well, that should be good news for the chair-throwing competition. referring to his well publicized tantrum during a game in 85.
I then mentioned that I was an Illini alum. Illinois had had a bitter rivalry during the 80s with Lou Henson (or Lou the Do as Dick Vitale would call him for his hairdo) as their coach. The 89 team which lost in the NCAA semi-finals to Michigan (a team they had beaten twice during the season), had beaten Indiana on their home court with a last second shot from mid court by Nick Anderson. I can still see the stunned look on Bobby's face after that loss.
There seemed to be no love lost between Bobby and Lou. I mentioned that you couldn't beat Bobby by playing his game. His game was a slowed down, deliberate, physical, methodical game. The way to beat him was with quick guards and speed and a fast pace and a pressing defense as Illinois had in 89.
I then got into my basketball history with the Pekin Chinks under Dawdy Hawkins. Dawdy came over from Central High School to Pekin for the 60-61 season. I was a junior that year and was a reserve guard on the team. I was also on the golf team of which Dawdy was the coach so I got to know him pretty well. He was really like a second father to me until my graduation in 62.
I was the starting point guard in 62 in which we went on to 18 wins. Dawdy would go on to win State championships in 64 and 67 and dominate the state from 64 thru 68. The Chinks were ranked #1 in the state throughout that time period. Dawdy was considered for the U of I head coach in the 60s. Whether he turned down an offer or not I do not know.
I mentioned how we had won 18 games in 61-62 with limited height with aggressive defense and fast breaks. Our tallest man was 6' 2. We employed a full court press throughout the game and came up with a lot of steals. Dawdy used the same style to win the 64 state championship. I mentioned to David that back in the 60s the Big Ten didn't play defense that well. You would often see scores over 100 points in the Big Ten. I grew up in Pekin watching the Bradley Braves with Chet Walker play the Cincinnati Bearcats with Oscar Robinson. I felt they played better defense than the big ten at that time.
I talked about my freshman year at the U of Ill. Basketball games were still held at Huff Gymnasium at that time which only held a few thousand fans. The Assembly Hall wasn't finished until the 63-64 season. As a result most students could only get tickets to a few games a year.
One of the games I was able to attend was the Ohio State game. That year they had 3 players that would go on to play pro ball Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, and Bill Bradley. The only player I could remember from the Illinois team was our star guard named Tal Brody. Of course Ohio State won that night. I had forgotten that Bob Knight had played guard on the 1960 and 61 Ohio State team with the 3 stars. He graduated in 1962 so I'm not sure why he didn't play in 62.
Not long after my conversation about Coach Knight I heard that Bob was coming to Estero High School to give a speech. I lived in Bonita Springs at the time and Estero was just up the road a couple of miles. I have to wonder if my discussion didn't have some influence on his decision to speak in Estero that night. I thought about going but didn't. Maybe I should have. His topic was keeping kids off of drugs.
I was later convicted of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and spent 4.5 yrs in jail/prison from 2001-2005. Also I saw in the paper where the former host was in a drug program recovering from a crack addiction. Ok Bobby you were right.
However part of my decision to get involved in the drug world of the late 90s was because of my belief that the world would be a much better place if drugs were not illegal. I wanted to put my body where my mouth was and come down on the side of the market. As negative as the effects of drugs were I felt that as long as there was a demand for them more harm would be done by prohibiting them than allowing their sale and use. I saw drug dealers as being entrepreneurs supplying a product demanded by consumers. Despite the fact that I had been a near vegetarian health food nut and hadn't taken so much as an aspirin for 25 years I decided to find out what the crack world was all about which would also lead to my finding out what the justice system was all about.
.See My Journey through the Crack World.