GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bobby Knight can still command a room.
The former college basketball coach, a three-time NCAA tournament champion at Indiana, addressed the White Sox for 10 minutes on Friday morning. While the discussion was less motivational speech and more to discuss Sports for Veterans, the foundation he and Hall of Fame inductee Tony La Russa created to help returning military members, it didn’t make players any less fired up.
“It was just kind of cool,” Lindstrom said. “He’s great at giving speeches, good at motivating. It makes you want to put on some war paint and get out there.”
Adam Dunn also enjoyed the discussion. Knight and La Russa dropped by on short notice and players weren’t aware of their speakers until manager Robin Ventura told the team they would hold an impromptu meeting. Dunn likes the fire Knight brings, but also doesn’t believe it would fit in baseball.
“You could see the intensity,” Dunn said. “I’m sure I’ve had coaches at some point like him, probably not in this sport. Those kind of coaches don’t exist, I don’t think, like that in baseball. He would make it probably for about a week and then you’d have 40 weeks to go. It’s a different beast here.”
Lindstrom seems particularly interested in being involved with the foundation. He said both his grandfathers served in World War II.
“Hopefully we can create some opportunities for the veterans that come home and give them some education and other things they want to do,” Lindstrom said. “A lot of those guys know how to shoot AR-15 rifles and sniper rifles and a lot of them have other skills and they can hone those and we can help out, especially with their families. They’ve sacrificed a lot. It was a good talk, especially coming from Coach Knight.”