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'Hey, You Moron, I Need a Job!'

September 25, 2000|MARTIN MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"You know, I'm not retired. I'm an unemployed teacher, and I'm looking for a place to teach."

--Bobby Knight, Fired Sept. 10 as head coach of men's basketball at Indiana University

*

It may be awhile before Knight lands his next "teaching" job. In the meantime, the basketball legend who was fired for his violent and abusive outbursts isn't going to sit around crying in his red sweater waiting for the phone to ring. He's going to get another job. Here's what Knight's interim employment future could hold:

The Gap

The American icon is hired as a door greeter. Ever the go-getter, Knight seeks to expand his zone of influence and pulls duty in the dressing room. Things turn ugly when Knight tells a female student that her paisley print skirt makes her resemble "a fat moronic cow."

Knight is given a warning by the assistant manager and told to stick by the front door. Later that day, Knight catches a junior high student unfolding a pair of classic-fit khakis and failing to return them to the proper shelf. He immediately places a chokehold on the youngster.

"Zero tolerance means no chokeholds?" grouses the ex-coach, who is terminated on the spot. "Come on!"

Mayflower Transit

Knight signs on as a Senior Heavy Furniture Specialist at one of America's largest national moving services. The company had been recruiting Knight since his famous chair-throwing incident during the Purdue game in 1985. "You can't teach what he's got," said one Mayflower executive. Knight is given carte blanche to fling "as much furniture as he can, as fast as he can."

He's forced into an early retirement when he throws his back out heaving a baby grand piano at a customer who referred to him as "Hey, you."

"It's either Mr. Knight or Senior Heavy Furniture Specialist Knight," he said afterward.

Bloomington Memorial Hospital

Knight takes a job as a nurse's aid. But his tenure is brief, largely as a result of the following exchange:

Knight: What's wrong with you, cowboy? You look fine to me.

Patient: The Big C.

Knight: Boo hoo. Boo hoo.

Patient: Huh?

Knight: That's what you want, right? Sympathy? Let's stop the world and feel sorry for you, is that the game? You are an absolute moron, I mean, an absolute moron if you think I'm going to waste my time and feel sorry for you.

Patient: I'm not . . .

Knight: I might have a little compassion for someone trying to help themselves, but you're just taking this thing lying down.

"How was I supposed to know that zero tolerance meant not pulling out someone's IV drip?" said the red-faced coach, who was given his pink slip later that day.

Jensen, Johnson & Tremaine Partners at Law

Knight becomes a paralegal. His many brushes with the law--punching a Puerto Rican policeman during the 1979 Pan Am Games and accidentally shooting a friend in the back on a hunting trip--give him a unique perspective on American jurisprudence.

But when a judge slaps a $50 fine on his firm's client for running a stop sign, Knight blows his stack in court. "This is the worst officiating I've ever seen! Whose payroll are you on, moron?" shouts Knight as veins as fat as ropes surface on his neck. "Hey, moron! Absolute moron, I'm talking to you!"

United Airlines

Knight becomes an airline steward for the friendly skies. Unruly behavior and other incidents of so-called "airplane rage" drop to nil during Knight's watch. The only blip occurs when his belly gets wedged between two seats in coach. (He's freed when his colleagues gladly oblige his request to ram him with the drink cart.)

Knight is terminated, however, after an altercation with a passenger. The incident is captured on videotape. The key text is quoted below.

Passenger: Can I have an extra bag of peanuts, please?

Knight: An extra bag?

Passenger: Yes, please.

Knight: All right. Here's your stupid bag of peanuts. Here's another, and another! (Knight throws peanut bags into passenger's face.) You want them so badly. Here, take them all! And let me tell you, you absolute moron, that when I get back here with the drinks you better have eaten every one of them or I'll shove what's left [expletive deleted]."

National Football League

Knight takes over as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, who have been struggling for the last couple of seasons.

Knight orders his team to gather on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. The new head coach stares at his players as the wind howls and the snow falls. He says nothing for five minutes.

"Vince Lombardi was a sissy," says Knight, who turns and walks off the field.

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