BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The buzz is electric, and unprecedented. Everyone involved in the Indiana basketball family is looking forward to former coach Bob Knight returning to Assembly Hall, the arena he made famous during his 29-year run at the school.
But Knight, who was fired in 2000 and has not returned since because of all the venom and animosity over his firing, moved back to Bloomington last year, and ever since, speculation has run rampant over when he might returning.
One of his favorite teams, the 1980 group that included Isiah Thomas, Mike Woodson, Randy Wittman and other, are being honored at Saturday's Indiana game with Purdue. So, according to reports, Wittman reached out to Knight and asked him to be a part of the festivities. Knight said yes.
Many of Knight's former players are in town, including Dean Garrett and Keith Smart from the 1987 national championship team. They are watching the first half together at Cook Hall, the basketball practice facility adjacent to Assembly Hall. They will walk through the tunnel for the halftime festivities.
Because of it, everyone's wanting to get inside Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall for the magical moment. So follow along on this live thread:
Mark Cuban makes an appearance
Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of the TV show "Shark Tank'' is in Bloomington for the game. "I wouldn't have missed it,'' he said on the way in.
Best early note: When Cuban went to will-call to pick up his tickets, he was asked for his ID.
ESPN’s Sage Steele here
No one at ESPN loves Indiana more than studio personality Sage Steele. She too couldn't pass up a chance to see history.
She posed for dozens of pictures before the game.
UPDATE: The game has started now, and she is sitting next to Cuban, and cheering hard.
Chairs in lock-down mode
Because there's a chance that Bob Knight was going to be here, I did some serious investigative reporting and can comfirm that all the chairs in the bench area are locked down.
Knight was probably more renowned for his crazy incident 35 years ago this week when he threw a chair across the floor after he didn't his his way with the referees.
After that, it became tradition to tie down all the portable chairs and throw a lock on them.
So we may have a Bob Knight appearance today, but there will be no chair throwing.
Players having fun with Knight at Cook Hall
So the game itself wouldn't be interrupted, Knight and the players are watching the first half at Cook Hall. They'll be here at halftime.
It is CONFIRMED that Knight is here. Here's a tweet.
Oh yeah, there is a BIG game going on, too
It's easy to forget, in all the Bob Knight hype, that Indiana and Purdue are playing a basketball game today, too. Definitely feels like an opening act.
But if you must know, it's actually a pretty good game so far. Indiana leads 26, 25 with 3:47 to go in the first half.
Knight appearance means something to ESPN, too,
Dick Vitale is in the house doing the Indiana-Purdue game, and apparently they have asked for a longer halftime break to they can do some of the ceremony with Knight here. Good on ESPN.
Your comments matter, too
Thank you for reading. If there's something you'd like to say or pictures you'd like to share from Assembly Hall, please post them in the comments section here.