Bob Knight has never had a problem finding fame. Even when he didn't want it.
Knight and late NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien, who each once shunned election, were among six men selected Thursday to the Basketball Hall of Fame.Also elected were guard Tiny Archibald, centers Dave Cowens and Harry Gallatin and the late Larry Fleisher, who founded the NBA Players Association. The group will be inducted in May. A seventh member will be chosen by a new committee formed to recognize international basketball.
After he failed to win election in his first try in 1988, Knight reportedly called it a "slap in the face" and asked not to be considered for renomination.
On Thursday, Knight changed his tune.
"When a coach is honored, it's an honor for all the players that played for him and is a recognition of the teams he has had over the years," Knight said. "I've been fortunate to have had a lot of great kids and players at West Point and Indiana. It means a lot to me to see them all share in this kind of recognition.
"A player enters the Hall of Fame on his ability, a coach enters on the ability of his players."
Knight has had only one losing season in 26 years - with Army in 1971 - and is one of only three coaches to win Olympic, NCAA and NIT championships.
Knight celebrated the honor with a 105-74 victory over Northwestern Thursday night.
Last year, Hall of Fame president Bob Kurland said the trustees decided against allowing nominees to back out and both Knight and O'Brien were nominated this time around.
Cowens, who spent most of his careerwith the Boston Celtics, was pleased to be going in with Archibald. Both began playing in the NBA in 1970. Cowens and Archibald, who played most of his career with the Kansas City Kings, played briefly together with the Celtics.
"I'm real pleased for him. Nate's a good man and a basketball guy through and through," said Cowens, who averaged 17.6 points and 13.6 rebounds in 11 seasons.
Cowens was both MVP of regular season and All-Star game in 1973 and selected as an All-Star seven times.
Archibald led the NBA in both scoring (34 points a game) and assists (11.4) in 1972-73. He played in six All-Star games, winning most valuable player honors in 1981.
Gallatin starred for the New York Knicks in the 1940s and 1950s and was elected by the Oldtimer's Committee. He averaged 13 points in 682 regular season games and led the NBA in rebounding in 1954, averaging more than 15 a game.
O'Brien, the former Democratic national chairman in the 1960s, was NBA commissioner from 1975 to 1984. During his tenure, the league expanded to 23 teams, gained national television exposure and began a landmark anti-drug program.
Fleisher, being honored as a contributor, served as the NBA Players Association attorney for more than 25 years and was an agent to dozens of NBA players.