Legendary former coach Bob Knight is selling the NCAA championship rings he earned with Indiana University along with the gold medal he received for leading the U.S. men’s basketball team to victory in the 1984. Is Knight broke?
While selling off memorabilia by athletes and coaches is usually done during hard financial times, that’s not the case with Knight, who now works as an ESPN college basketball commentator. Knight is putting the rings and gold medal up for auction through Steiner sports to fund his grandchildren’s education.
“I guarantee there are no financial problems,” Steven Costello, executive vice president of Steiner sports, told the Indianapolis Star.
Knight, 71, was successful during his tenure at Indiana, where he won three NCAA national championships in 1967, 1981, and 1987. He was also controversial over his coaching methods, with his ouster coming in September 2000 after he grabbed a player by the throat.
Costello said he also did not believe Knight is selling his Indiana rings to purge himself from the bad feelings over his firing.
“I don’t think so,” Costello told the Star. “The reason I say that is not everything is Indiana specific.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Knight said his motivation for selling the rings and gold medal was to help pay for the education of his grandchildren.
“I was very pleased there was a market for something like this that my grandkids - I have two grandsons - and my wife has a niece and nephew, who would get good use out of this. … [T]he money could be very useful to put our grandchildren through college," he told the AP.
Knight, who at one time held the all-time Division I coaching victories record with 902 wins, said he’s not the ring-wearing type.
"I've got stuff I didn't even know I had," he said. "I don't put anything up in the house. If you came into the house you would think I was a mailman. And I don't even wear rings."
Interested in owning Knight’s rings or gold medal? Steiner Sports will be conducting the auction, which ends Dec. 5. Other items up for bid include the New York Yankees jersey Don Larsen wore when he pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. The jersey, which has a reserve price that has not been met as of Tuesday afternoon, has a current bid of $146,000.
Knight acknowledged the demand of certain sports memorabilia.
"Sports people are nuts," Knight told AP with a laugh. "Look at how much they would they pay for Babe Ruth's cap or Honus Wagner's card? I guess these are people who want to own things, things that are the results of what someone else did in sports.”
Although Knight is selling his rings and gold medal, he has other sports-related memorabilia that he isn’t putting up for auction.
"I have some things Ted Williams gave me," Knight said of the Hall of Fame Boston Red Sox player. "He was very special to me, so I will never part with those things."