- REUTERS/Jim Young
Famous Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight introduced Donald Trump in a profanity-laced speech at a campaign rally in Indiana on Wednesday.
The retired basketball coach praised Trump supporters, and predicted that history would remember them as instrumental in altering the fate of the US.
“They’re going to take all you people and put you next to our founding fathers and George Washington. That’s what the hell they’re going to do with you people,” Knight said.
He boasted about the real-estate magnate’s credentials, praising Trump’s ability to hire and fire people.
“He does a great job of finding good people and teaching good people,” Knight said. “And even as important, he’s really good at getting rid of people.”
But while Knight dedicated some of his speech to praising Trump, he also went on several minutes-long tangents that appeared to have little to do with his endorsement. At various points during the speech, Knight deviated from talking about Trump to thank the crowd for supporting the Indiana Hoosiers, which he coached to three NCAA championships.
After promising that Trump would have a better relationship with the military than any other previous president, Knight reminded the crowd of his triumphs over the US Naval Academy as the coach of the US Military Academy’s basketball team.
“I want all you Navy people to please raise your hands. And I want you to know that I spent eight years teaching soldiers at the United States Military Academy. And we played Navy eight straight years, folks, and we beat your ass every year we played you,” Knight said.
Knight ended his introduction with a rambling, seemingly unrelated joke about a boy whose dad would not let him drive his car because he refused to get a haircut.
“‘Dad, you know, you got me to read the Bible, and I did,'” Knight said, telling the joke. “‘And when I read the Bible I learned a lot of things. I learned that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and Jesus himself had long hair.’ And the man in charge looked at that kid and said, ‘You’re absolutely right. And they walked their ass everywhere they went.'”
He continued: “I again thank you for the opportunity to coach basketball in this state, and now I give you the very best choice that’s ever been made to take over as a president, I give you Donald Trump.”
The moment was quickly mocked on Twitter:
Bobby Knight just told a joke about a teenager with long hair, Jesus and driving and I have NO IDEA what it had to do with Trump.
— Emily Flitter (@FlitterOnFraud) April 27, 2016
Bobby Knight just spent five minutes telling a hippie joke
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) April 27, 2016
The Bobby Knight hair joke has me yearning for Clint Eastwood and the chair
— Michael Smerconish (@smerconish) April 27, 2016
Knight’s speech didn’t seem to faze Trump, who took the stage immediately following the coach’s introduction.
“What a winner, what a great man,” Trump said.