Joe B, Bobby and the "Slap"

by:Matt Jones12/09/11


It is a part of UK lore and for many old-time UK fans, the main reason they hate Bobby Knight. During a game in 1974, Bobby Knight “slapped” Joe B Hall on the back of the head during a game. Depending on who you ask, it was either a playful pat or an egregious act of a complete jerk. The truth is often debated, but in this excerpt from a 2006 biography of Knight, Joe B Hall tells his side of the story:

“The situation was, he was yelling at the officials from in front of my bench, in front of me”, Hall says. “And as he turned to go back to the bench, I said, ‘Way to go, Bob, give ‘em hell.’ Good-naturedly, because this was a friend of mine.”

“And he turned and broke down, almost like an attack position, and he screamed at me, ‘Don’t ever talk to me during a game! Why don’t you coach your own motherf***ing team!’”

“And his facial expression was — what do I want to say? — distorted in anger so that I felt moved to do something. So, I followed him up and I said, ‘Hey, Bob, I didn’t mean anything by that. You know I hope you’re not upset by what I said, because I didn’t mean anything personal to you. You’ve kicked our butts soundly; you’ve got a great team.’”

“And I turned to walk away and he popped me with an open hand at the back of the neck. Pretty strongly. And I turned in response, and he again broke down in attack mode and he said, ‘I didn’t mean anything by that, either.’”

Knight insists that the tap was playful, but at the time Hall clearly disagreed. The issue still divides both fan bases, but one thing seems clear to me. Knight is, and was, a Grade A jerk…and if Hall, one of the nicest men I have ever known, was offended at the time, then I am on #TeamJoeB.

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