He was in town for a party to honor Slick Leonard’s induction into the Hall of Fame, and came down to the studio the following day. He was planning to be downtown anyway, to visit with his former boss, Donnie Walsh.
Knight was a sensation as a rookie for the Pacers in the 1974-75 season, and the second-biggest reason (behind George McGinnis) why that team surprisingly reached the ABA finals, in one of the most exciting seasons in franchise history. He averaged 17.1 points on 53 percent shooting as a rookie, and scored 40 in the last game of the season, a loss to Kentucky in Game 5 of the playoffs in Louisville.
He was an ABA All-Star in 1976 and an NBA All-Star the following season after the “merger” between the leagues. He played 11 ABA/NBA seasons in all, for five teams, and is still the Pacers’ third all-time leading scorer.
He began a front office career with the Pacers, and then became the general manager in Vancouver, Memphis and Atlanta.
Knight is one of the most polite people you’ll ever meet, although he admits in this conversation he was “no angel.” He didn’t drink or smoke, a rarity in those freewheeling days, and remains one of the good guys in the game.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have stories to tell, though.
Fired aired 2014
Tagged with: ABA finals 1975, Billy Knight, Indiana Pacers, University of Pittsburgh basketball