Hall of Famer Bob Knight is selling his championship basketball rings and Olympic gold medal for what he considers a very good reason: the education of his grandchildren.
A collection of the former coach's memorabilia will be auctioned by Steiner Sports Memorabilia. It's part of a sale that features the jersey Yankees pitcher Don Larsen wore while pitching a perfect game in the World Series.
"John Havlicek and I were just talking one day about all the stuff we had accumulated over the years," Knight said Monday from the Denver airport, referring to his college teammate at Ohio State who went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Boston Celtics. "As we talked we decided the money could be very useful to put our grandchildren through college."
The auction, which has already started for some items, runs through Dec. 5 and will feature Knight's rings from his three NCAA championship teams at Indiana — the undefeated 1976 season and the ones from 1981 and 1987.
The company will also sell a sports coat and a warmup jacket given to Knight as coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team in 1984.
"I've got stuff I didn't even know I had," Knight said. "I don't put anything up in the house. If you came into the house you would think I was a mailman. And I don't even wear rings."
Knight is aware of the enthusiasm of the memorabilia market.
"Sports people are nuts," Knight said with a laugh. "Look at how much they would they pay for Babe Ruth's cap or Honus Wagner's card? I guess these are people who want to own things, things that are the results of what someone else did in sports. I was very pleased there was a market for something like this that my grandkids — I have two grandsons — and my wife has a niece and nephew, who would get good use out of this."
Knight, who set a Division I record — which has since been surpassed — with 902 wins at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech, was asked if there was anything that wouldn't make it to the auction floor.
"I have some things Ted Williams gave me," Knight said of the baseball Hall of Famer. "He was very special to me, so I will never part with those things."