Bob Knight defines himself through his unyielding attitude of never being satisfied.
The Hall of Fame basketball coach and current ESPN commentator highlights that mentality in his new book, The Power of Negative Thinking: An Unconventional Approach to Achieving Positive Results, which released earlier this week.
Knight always hoped to someday write a book about his contrastive coaching method. But he also wanted to finish his career first to ensure he put all of his attention on producing something special.
The four-time NCAA Coach of the Year was in Athens on Thursday to call the Georgia-Kentucky game, but carved out a few hours before tipoff to sign copies of his new novel at the UGA bookstore.
“I had a lot of fun putting this together,” Knight said. “I hope people have fun reading.”
The genesis of Knight’s negative approach stems from something his grandmother told him 65 years ago: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
“We all wish for things, we all hope for things, but we don’t always work for things,” Knight said. “I’ve never been a believer in wishes and hopes and ignoring today’s problems because it’ll get better tomorrow. That’s kind of the way I’ve always coached.”
That psychology at times shed Knight in an unfavorable light, highlighted by many volatile outbursts that ultimately led to his firing from Indiana in 2000. But it also fueled him through four decades of coaching, including three national championships with the same Hoosiers.
“To me, I always wanted to know how we could get beat, not how we could win,” Knight said. “I’ve never been a guy that thinks everything is going to be ok. Things are going to happen and you’re going to be worse if you don’t do something to change it.
“To say, ‘Well tomorrow will be another day,’ yeah it will, but it’ll be a hell of a lot hotter, that’s all,” Knight added.
Before heading to Stegeman Coliseum to call Thursday’s game, Knight shared insight on how he thought the Bulldogs would fare.
“I think they’ve done a good job,” he said. “I think [coach Mark Fox] has done a good job. They’ve got to shoot probably a little better than they’re used to shooting, but I think they’ve done a good job.”
But will the Bulldogs pull off the upset and defeat the defending national champions?
“I can’t answer that because I’ve only seen them play once all year,” Knight said. “But I do know one thing – I know more about it than all of you writers know. That makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something in life.”