Bob Knight's reputation for saying offensive things is close to being on par with his reputation as a Hall of Fame coach.
On Tuesday, appearing on ESPN's Mike and Mike radio show, Knight added to one of those legacies. When discussing one-and-done players in college basketball, Knight used some colorful words to get his point across that the NBA's low age limit is hurting the NCAA product, explaining that he believes the NBA has "raped" college basketball.
Here's the full quote from Knight via Chris Littman of Sporting News, which came after a question about the readiness of players like Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Duke's Jabari Parker:
"If I were involved with the NBA I wouldn't want a 19-year-old or a 20-year-old kid, to bring into all the travel and all the problems that exist in the NBA. I would want a much more mature kid. I would want a kid that maybe I've been watching on another team and now he's 21, 22 years old instead of 18 or 19, and I might trade for that kid. On top of it all, the NBA does a tremendous, gigantic disservice to college basketball. It's as though they've raped college basketball in my opinion.
"Major League Baseball has the best idea of all. Three years before they'll take a kid out of college, then they have a minor league system that they put the kids in. I'm sure that if the NBA followed the same thing, there would be a lot of kids in a minor league system that still were not good enough to play in the major NBA."
This isn't the first time Knight has used the word "rape" in a public forum. In 1988, Knight said the following to interviewer Connie Chung regarding stress, "I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it."
Though the subject at hand was stress, not rape, women's groups were incensed by Knight's crude and insensitive comment. Still, Indiana president Thomas Ehrlich did little but shrug. " Coach Knight was not speaking for the university," Ehrlich told The New York Times. "His reference to rape and his coarse language were in very poor taste. Period. That's all I really want to say." By Friday, Indiana's director of university relations, Jim Green, said Ehrlich was finished talking about the matter.
Through sports editor and columnist Bob Hammel of the Bloomington Herald-Telephone, Knight issued a quasi apology for his remark two days after the show was broadcast. "Anybody who knows me would be quick to say I would be one of the last people to adopt a careless attitude toward rape as criminal assault...," Knight said.
As it stands now, players can only enter the NBA after one year of college basketball or one year removed from high school. Recently, there have been discussions about raising the NBA's age limit to 20 years old, with new NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaking up as a strong proponent. Judging by Knight's tone, that likely wouldn't be enough to appease the former college coach.
UPDATE: Via John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal:
ESPN, on Bob Knight's comment that the NBA has "raped" college basketball: "We spoke with him. ESPN regrets the use of the word.”(H/T Sporting News)
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) March 25, 2014