Friday night's ceremony at the Basketball Hall of Fame was special. Mike Krzyzewski, John Chaney and Moses Malone were enshrined in the magical museum. They are all deserving of the highest honor for their contributions to the game of basketball.
Who would have thought that Robert Montgomery Knight, now of Texas Tech, would have been a presenter for Coach K? Anyone who has been involved in the soap opera between these two knows they have not conversed in a friendly manner for a long time.
||Knight and Coach K split along the way. Competition and pressure can do that to a relationship sometimes, even when two have the greatest of admiration for each other. But in the end, Knight was thrilled to have Coach K ask to present him at the Hall of Fame.
When it was all said and done, and Krzyzewski could select one person to stand at the podium to present him to everyone gathered, the call went to his former coach, Knight.
The two first hooked up when Krzyzewski was playing in the high school ranks in Chicago. He was wooed by a young, aspiring, future Hall of Fame coach to play at West Point.
It was there that Coach K developed his discipline and knowledge of the game that took him to the top of his profession. There is no question that Knight became enamored with Krzyzewski's talent and leadership skill.
On March 19, 1980, Duke athletic director Tom Butters announced his new coach would be this unknown, unheralded coach from West Point, 33-year-old Mike Krzyzewski. Remember, Coach K was 9-17 at Army; how many athletic directors would have the courage, conviction and guts to stand in front of their fan base and hire a coach coming off a losing season like that?
Remember, Duke was not in the depths of despair. In 1978, the Blue Devils made it to the Final Four, when Joe B. Hall and the Kentucky Wildcats cut the nets down.
Bill Foster did not leave the cupboard bare when he left Duke for South Carolina. Still, for the next three years, it was struggle city.
Duke fans were screaming; they could not believe Coach K was the man for the job. There were letters galore to Butters, but he saw something special in Krzyzewski. The AD remained determined Coach K was the right guy.
Knight placed a call to Butters and sold Coach K big time. He sold the skills, ability and academic beliefs and said he was the man for the job. Butters said there was no question after he interviewed Krzyzewski that he was the man for the job.
Knight and Coach K split along the way. Competition and pressure can do that to a relationship sometimes, even when two have the greatest of admiration for each other. But in the end, Knight was thrilled to have Coach K ask to present him at the Hall of Fame.
Speaking of Knight, and I have been a friend of his for years, I have never heard him sound so content and happy as recently in conversations with him. He seems to be rejuvenated at Texas Tech, and you can hear it in his voice. He sounds like he did in his early days at Indiana.
For Red Raider fans, whether you love him or hate him, the school has someone with a personality that has created a stir in Lubbock. It has brought back that boyish attitude in the guy who once worked the sidelines at West Point in the '60s.
In those days, he learned and admired the abilities of his captain and point guard -- Mike Krzyzewski.
It's nice to see they have put their hands together and are back once again. Oh, how special that is.