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Bob Knight's chair toss 25 years young

2/23/2010

Thanks to ESPN researcher Jon Kramer -- seriously, those ESPN research guys are the best -- we are reminded that today, Feb. 23, 2010, indeed marks the 25th anniversary of Bob Knight's legendary chair toss at Assembly Hall. Happy anniversary, Coach Knight!

As you no doubt know, Knight's toss has become the stuff of college basketball lore. Photos of the incident -- some signed, some not -- sell in Indianapolis gift shops. Generic highlights packages include it to stress the "intensity" of the college game. ESPN broadcasts from Bloomington, Ind., often make mention of it, including this year's brief feature about the arena's chairs now being locked to one another to prevent a similar situation from happening again. Among his coaching successes and long history of hilarious and brutal behavior, the chair toss is perhaps Bob Knight's most notable moment. It's still a big deal.

But did you know it almost didn't happen? Get ready to! From Kramer:

Today we're accustomed to seeing Coach Knight in a sweater. But the thing that made Feb. 23, 1985, so interesting -- and a possible reason why the chair was even tossed in the first place -- was the fact that it was an unseasonably warm day. Knight had always worn a sport coat and tie on the sidelines until that very day! With Indiana struggling, Knight decided to "change things up" and wear a golf shirt. IU Athletics director Ralph Floyd told him afterward that if the coach had worn his usual sport coat, he probably would have thrown that and not the chair. Knight agreed with him.

Knight probably regrets that wardrobe choice. (Though he has lightened up on the incident lately, even going so far as to make fun of himself in a Volkswagen commercial in 2008.) But college basketball fans should be thankful the weather in Bloomington was so comfortable that day in February. Without the chair toss, Knight's crazy public legacy might have been more anecdotally associated with that time he brought a whip to a postgame news conference. Meh.