Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS



Interviews With Bo Derek, Bob Knight, Rich Cohen

Aired April 27, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Good evening. Great edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND tonight. Three terrific books. Bo Derek will be with us first, then Bob Knight, and then Rich Cohen.

Bo's book is, "Riding Horses. Everything That Matters in Life, I Learned From Horses." Everything?


KING: Well...

DEREK: ... they -- well, that matters -- yeah.

KING: Everything that matters.

DEREK: Yeah.

KING: Did that book stem out of this show?

DEREK: It did, absolutely. Do you remember I never done anything. I quit the business. You -- I saw you, you invited me on the show, and that was about a year -- over a year ago.

KING: Well over a year ago.

DEREK: And we did the hour...

KING: And what happened? What...

DEREK: ... and it just started such buzz that...

KING: That's the show we did on horses, right?

DEREK: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE). No, it was the show just...

KING: Just you.

DEREK: ... about me.

KING: And someone said let's write a book. Did someone call you?

DEREK: Yeah -- then some people started calling, and it kept going on and on, and I didn't think I had any business writing a book. And then all of a sudden, it kept coming and coming. And then Judith Reagan (ph) convinced me to make the book Horsey (ph). She said, "What are you passionate about?" I said, "Horses. Three people care about horses." She said, "Tell me about horses." So we had a nice long conversation. She said, "That's what you have to write about." And I did. And it made it palatable for me.

I really didn't want to write a book at all.

KING: Why?

DEREK: I didn't -- I don't feel that -- I didn't feel my life, I'd lived enough. I didn't -- I feel funny about celebrity autobiographies anyway. Then -- and I didn't plan on writing it, and then in the end, I did.

KING: The frame concept of the horses, is this framed around an autobiography? Is this the Bo...

DEREK: It is.

KING: ... Derek autobiography...

DEREK: It is.

KING: ... the story of your life?

DEREK: It is the story...

KING: You discuss...

DEREK: ... of most of my life.

KING: ... John Derek -- you discuss the whole thing?


KING: And horses run through it?

DEREK: Horses run through it because horses are my passion...

KING: Like a river runs through it, right?

DEREK: Yes -- see.

Oh -- no, horses definitely run through it because they are my passion. And there's something about horses that they're so instinctive. They are a prey animal. We're predators. Most of our pets are predators. So you have to be so extremely honest with them and straightforward. No game playing with horses.

KING: This love began early?

DEREK: Yeah, I was born with it.

I think some little...

KING: Really?

DEREK: ... girls -- your daughter for one...

KING: Yeah, you're not kidding.

DEREK: ... they're born horse crazy. And I think they'll probably find some genetic code, something, someday when we're not focused on disease and important reasons to do this research, we'll find that some people, I think, are gifted musically, artistically somehow and that's my thing on horses.

KING: I remember many male jockeys telling me that the good female jockeys have a sense of the horse that they don't have.

DEREK: I think in general, women do. Certainly there are exceptions. But in general, women have a touch of finesse and care, but it's difficult than (UNINTELLIGIBLE) incredible strength to be a jockey.

KING: Before we get more into the book and your autobiography, let's first discuss the passing of Dudley Moore.

DEREK: Yeah.

KING: And you were in the picture that made him -- "10."

DEREK: Yeah.

KING: What was he like to work with?

DEREK: Great. He was fantastic. He was fun. He was a great friend throughout the years. It's been 22 years since we made the film -- 24 years since we actually shot it...

KING: You were a kid then.

DEREK: ... almost -- I was a baby.

KING: Yeah.

DEREK: I was six.

KING: Did you...

DEREK: No...

KING: ... hit it off right away?

DEREK: Yeah, right away.

I don't think either one of us knew that we were going to be involved in such a life changing experience together. Although, Dudley was well known in England, he was virtually unknown here. I was completed unknown. And over night, our lives changed together.

KING: Yeah, because that picture just whacked people out, right? DEREK: Yeah, it really did.

KING: It was an instant hit.

DEREK: It just -- like Edward, so he just touched something in our society and in our culture -- mid-life crisis for a male, all those things, surrounded with or presented with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) comedy.

KING: So the friendship kept up for all these years? You've...

DEREK: It did.

KING: ... kept in touch with him?

DEREK: Yeah, it was difficult in the end. The disease -- it's a horrible disease. He suffered so much, and he was so brave, so courageous to fight it as long as he did.

KING: Did you ever think of doing another film together?

DEREK: We talked about it, and certain things would come up, and there's always been a buzz about another "10" -- some kind of sequel, then we won't.

KING: Yeah.

Did you speak -- did you see him at all so soon before he died?

DEREK: I saw him a year ago at Carnegie Hall. We had a tribute to him.

KING: Had he started to lose his speech then?

DEREK: Oh, yeah.

KING: Yeah.

DEREK: He was very sick -- very ill. But his mind was there, and he was happy to have all his friends around, and it was -- for me it was nice to take part.

KING: How did you meet John Derek and does that relate to horses?

DEREK: It didn't -- it didn't relate to horses. But he had a passion for horses as well. And he was a great horse...

KING: But you had horses, right, together?

DEREK: We had horses together, and he taught me most of what I know about horses.

KING: Really?

DEREK: Yeah. KING: So the love you had, he was the teacher?

DEREK: Of horses, yes.

KING: Yeah.

DEREK: But what was funny is we got this ranch together -- and his whole life was horses. He -- and was crazy about them, too. We got this ranch together and he stopped riding. As soon as we finally -- we worked all these years, we get a ranch, we have the horses, everything's great, he stops riding. So I said, what is it? He couldn't inflict his will upon an animal anymore. He just had reached some place in his life, he said, I don't like being told what to do. I don't like being made to go up a hill. So why am I going to ask an animal to take that -- take me up on his back?

KING: He was really that way, wasn't he?

DEREK: He was a strange one. Always...

KING: Yes, he was.

DEREK: ... always surprising.

KING: How did you meet him?

DEREK: I was auditioning for a part. He was -- he needed a girl to play a Greek girl, so he obviously needed a brunette, dark...

KING: What was your...

DEREK: ... skinned girl?

KING: ... name at the time?

DEREK: My name was Mary Cathleen Collins.

KING: So, Mary Cathleen Collins...


KING: ... comes -- shows up for this audition.


KING: And...

DEREK: And he kind of liked my looks, but I was all wrong. My hair was ultra white blond and I was a typical California surfer girl. And so I went to go have my hair dyed dark to get the part. John Peters (ph), who became a great movie mogul, was just a hairdresser then. He was a hairdresser. He died my hair dark. And I got the part.

KING: And did you start dating right away?

DEREK: No. He was married to Linda Evans then.

KING: Oh, that's right.

DEREK: They were crazy in love.

So it was a very strange -- I guess that's one nice thing about writing a book, was to set the record straight and -- but at the same time, it's a big responsibility to get it right. Because Linda's involved -- John, who can't speak for himself is gone. So getting those things right is a big responsibility when you're writing a book.

KING: And the ex-wives so friendly are they not?

DEREK: Yeah. I just spoke to Ursula yesterday. Ursula Andress was John's second wife.

KING: And you were the third?

DEREK: I was the fourth. Linda Evans was the third.

KING: Who was the first.

DEREK: The first was a woman, Patty Bearis (ph).

KING: Did you ever meet her?

DEREK: Yeah -- we're friendly.

KING: So you...

DEREK: I know it's strange. But see, I married into that relationship. Ursula started it. She wanted to keep -- although they weren't married, she wanted to keep John in her life. So I married into this strange...

KING: Boy.

DEREK: ... bizarre friendship. But -- and Ursula and I have remained really close.

KING: What did he have that would give him this kind of connection? That his ex's and his current would all be friends?

DEREK: It was just him. What did he have? It was -- it was him. It was his personality...

KING: I mean, he was one of the handsomest guys that (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

DEREK: Yeah, he was really easy to look at. That didn't hurt. He was fun. He was -- he was very intense, which made him difficult to live with. But surprising, entertaining, always alive, always interesting, and always got a new project, and it just kept me busy. We were together 25 years.

KING: So then you knew him through Linda Evans, right? DEREK: I met -- I met him when they were together, yes.

KING: And then Ursula also?

DEREK: And then Ursula -- I met Ursula after we've been living together in Europe for about three months. I went back to Switzerland to see Ursula.

KING: Did he pursue you, John, after the Evans breakup?

DEREK: Well, that's -- it's a little more complicated than that, because the breakup happened while they were still together. The strange interest in me came about and I fell in love as much as a 17- year-old can fall in love with...

KING: You were 17 -- yeah.

DEREK: I was 17.

KING: Was it difficult to handle at 17 -- a married man?

DEREK: I didn't know what I was doing. I really didn't. And I don't -- I don't mean to say that I was innocent, because I knew he was a married man, I knew it was wrong. Nothing will ever change that. But at 17, it's so exciting. You feel you're so adult. You feel you're so mature. And...

KING: Oh -- yeah.

DEREK: ... this wonderful man says let's go off and live in Europe together.

KING: And it lasted.

DEREK: And it lasted. But at the same time, he said, "This won't last. Let's just see what happens day to day." Twenty-five years later, it was meant to be. But it wasn't -- it wasn't easy in the beginning.

KING: Back to horses, when you were a teenager, were you riding?

DEREK: A little bit. My father bought my brother and I a couple of old retired rental horses, which now looking back at it, they were very sad. But at the time, the most beautiful horses I'd ever seen.

KING: So if you were 17, did you ever date anyone or was Derek your life?

DEREK: He was certainly my adult life. Yes, there was one boy before him. Yeah.

KING: Somebody. Is he still around?

DEREK: I assume.

KING: But you don't know? DEREK: Actually, there were...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) part of this friendship?

DEREK: Actually, he's not around.

KING: He died, too?

DEREK: In an avalanche.

KING: You'd a kiss of something.

Bo Derek is our guest. Her book is "Riding Lessons, Everything That Matters in Life, I Learned From Horses". Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Bo Derek. Her autobiography, "Riding Lessons, Everything That Matters In Life I Learned From Horses" is out. It's going to be a major seller.

There were stories that John Derek controlled you. Any truth to that, that you were sort of a puppet?

DEREK: No, but people will never believe that -- never ever.

I tried for 25 years to change that impression and it didn't work. I'm -- I was independent. But he was 30 years older than I was, so certainly, he was strong, he was experienced. But all the major decisions, I made by myself.


KING: How did you handle...

DEREK: ... purposely didn't want to touch those decisions because a he was older than I was and felt that I could learn to resent him.

KING: And so he taught you about riding horses, treating horses, working horses...

DEREK: Yeah, he was a great horseman. He was a great animal person anyway.

KING: Yeah -- how many horses do you have now?

DEREK: I'm down to four from (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KING: You ride almost every day?

DEREK: When I'm home everyday at a fabulous Portuguese mare. She's incredible.

KING: What happens when you're on a horse? It's another world, right? You're in another world... DEREK: It's...

KING: ... like a pilot on a plane.

DEREK: It is for some people. Some people ride a horse to get away from their problems, to go out and look at the scenery. I ride very well trained, very intense horses. So for me, it takes all my -- that's my escape is that it takes all my concentration to ride them well. And that's good for me, because I can't -- I tend to be very distracted.

KING: How did you handle the grief over his death? What did John die of?

DEREK: It was catastrophic heart failure.

KING: And just like that?

DEREK: Just like that.

KING: He had no disease?

DEREK: Just the way he wanted it actually.

KING: Where did he die?


KING: Were you with him?


KING: You were -- you found him?

DEREK: No, someone -- I got a call. I was in LA at a function, and I got a call that he was -- he was in the hospital. He actually died at the ranch -- that's what was supposed to happen. He was revived but it was -- he never should have been probably.

KING: So he went quick, which is probably the way he would've wanted to go, right?

DEREK: He used to say that watching television or a movie. If a man grabbed his chest, and fell down, and they said he's dead, he used to say, "Lucky son of a bitch."

KING: Yeah.

DEREK: So ironic that he should go that way.

KING: How did you handle it?

DEREK: Day to day. I don't tend to fret and worry about things I can't control or do anything about. So, you go on day to day. I'm lucky in my business I had to go to work right away. That was good for me. I -- from what I understand, everyone grieves differently, and it has a life of it's own.

KING: You didn't have children, though?


KING: Did you want children?

DEREK: At one point, I did. Then it never worked out timing wise. I take it very seriously having children. So I never -- my life never settled into a situation or a routine that I could raise one properly. So, I didn't have them. I don't regret it.

I don't think children define me as a woman or anything like that.

KING: Did John have children?

DEREK: He had two children from his first marriage.

KING: You're friendly with them?


KING: Yeah.

Now, aging, how old are you now, Bo?

DEREK: Oh, I'm 45.

KING: Forty-five. Do you need -- did you ever think of -- did you ever have plastic surgery or think about -- I mean, you're an actress...

DEREK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Yeah, I think about.

KING: Why not? But you've never done it, though?

DEREK: No, but...

KING: Do -- it's very (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

DEREK: ... and I don't want to. But I don't know, it's personal. It's personal. I hope I don't. I hope I'm -- I admire women who don't, so I hope I don't. But at the same time, I can't say no or think badly of anyone who does do it...

KING: No...

DEREK: ... because I know it's personal.

KING: ... it's your face. It's your life.

DEREK: And it's personal. I've seen how it gives...

KING: But, I mean, you're in the business...

DEREK: ... people confidence.

KING: ... where looks matter.

DEREK: Yes, and just to look your age, you have to do something, because if everyone does it then you start looking 10 years older than your real age.

KING: Do you want to marry again?

DEREK: Oh -- yeah. Sure.

KING: Do you want to meet someone?

DEREK: Oh -- sure. I think I'm that kind of person. I love to be in love.

KING: You're in every tabloid.

DEREK: Yeah.

KING: Have you been in love since John?


KING: No. You haven't met anyone that...

DEREK: No, well, I thought I was for a minute, but that was just...

KING: Oh, you did?

DEREK: ... silliness. That's just being inexperienced and not knowing, you know...


DEREK: ... I was 17 since I felt that way.

KING: I know.

DEREK: So it was a long time ago.

KING: But you want to feel that way?

DEREK: Oh, I do.

KING: So when it happens...

DEREK: Sure.

KING: ... it'll be a surprise. Yeah.

DEREK: I hope it's wonderful and fantastic.

KING: The Republic and the Activists and then the Republican Party, when did that begin? DEREK: You know, I'm really not that active.

KING: Well every time I'm at a rally you're there.

DEREK: Yeah, I saw...

KING: Every time I go...

DEREK: ... at the White House Correspondence Dinner.

KING: And I saw you at the Inaugural. You reported for us at the Inaugural.

DEREK: I did, absolutely...

KING: You were one of our correspondents.


KING: You were an outspoken Republican.

DEREK: I am -- I am. But as a citizen. I don't -- I don't mean to influence anyone in their voting. I encourage people to vote, to get involved. This is a fantastic country we live in. And the election process is so important. I believe in our president, President Bush, and I'm so happy he won. And I did what I could, and it's a -- it was a fantastic experience. I recommend it to anybody.

KING: And he is proving you correct, do you think?

DEREK: I believed in him. I, for one, am not surprised that he's turned out to be such a great leader.

KING: Do you go out in U.S.O tours?

DEREK: I did -- I did in November and I expect to go out again in June.

KING: Did you sing or just appear...

DEREK: No, I don't sing or dance.

KING: So what -- so they just said, let's look at Bo. Is what -- is that what it is?

DEREK: Yeah, I went out with Wayne Newton. He's an old friend.


DEREK: He said, "Don't worry." He said, "It would be all right." He said, "I'll take care of you on stage." And he certainly did.

KING: So what did you do?

DEREK: So I go out -- I'd go out, I flirt, I talk to the -- to all the service men and women. It was fantastic.

KING: What was the experience like to go there?

DEREK: One of the best experiences in my life. But I have to say, I have gotten involved with -- I am the national chair for all the disabled veterans for all their special events, and that's something that's very close to my heart, too. In fact, in two weeks we have an Aspen -- in snowmass (ph), the Winter Games.


DEREK: And it's been fantastic. It's something that, you know, our disabilities are difficult, anyway, to live with. But then to be a veteran and not get quite the attention, I think, they deserve.

KING: How about making movies? Still want to? Still do them?

DEREK: Yeah, I do actually.

KING: Do you read? Do the people call you? Do you...

DEREK: Yeah, some less.

KING: It's a weird age you're at now, right, isn't it?

DEREK: No kidding.

KING: You don't play the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

DEREK: No, I'm afraid I can't do that anymore.

KING: And you're too pretty to be the mother-in-law.

DEREK: Aren't you nice?

KING: You can't...

DEREK: You're such a flirt.

KING: ... who's going to catch you with?

DEREK: Pardon me?

KING: What do you mean "flirt"? Who's going to cast you as a mother-in-law? No one's going to.

DEREK: I played a mother already. I did.

KING: Of what, an infant?

DEREK: No, two teenage boys. I could be a grandmother.

KING: Wind Over Water, right?

DEREK: Wind On Water -- yeah. Oh, my god.

KING: I remember that.

DEREK: How about that.

KING: I remember that.

DEREK: Yeah.

KING: Yeah.

Do you -- is it -- is it very difficult to be beautiful? By that I mean, you know, people assume that wow, we couldn't ask Bo Derek out on a date, or Bo Derek's always busy. Is that true or untrue?

DEREK: It's untrue. But at the same time, I have to say, no, I -- people are right. You know, it's nice having a straight nose, and a -- and a -- and having your cheekbones lined up like my father's do. I can't say that that's ever been a curse. And certainly, I'm -- I've never been attributed with tremendous intelligence. But I've always had enough to do whatever wanted in life, and I've accomplished some, for me, unbelievable things. And...

KING: You think it's...

DEREK: ... to me it's, no matter how pretty you are, you can overcome it -- you can.

KING: Of course...

DEREK: You can.

KING: ... there are minuses to it, aren't there?

DEREK: I don't know what...

KING: Or do you think...

DEREK: ... to tell you the truth.

KING: ... you intimidate some men?

DEREK: I might, I don't know. I don't know.

KING: So how would you know?

DEREK: If nobody has ever told me, how would I know? How would I know?

KING: How...

DEREK: But most of the time, I'm home in bed alone with my German Shepherd dog. So that's the truth.

KING: Most of the time.

DEREK: Most of the time.

KING: Some pretty women have said when they look in the mirror, they don't think they're pretty. You know you're pretty.

DEREK: No, I know my bones are nice. I know my -- I got the genes from my parents. But I know that 200 years ago, for instance, my figure and certain facial features wouldn't have been in fashion at all. They just are today. And it's a blessing. But I don't spend any time thinking about it.

KING: So this is...

DEREK: There's too much to do.

KING: This is cyclical when it goes through...

DEREK: It's fashion.

KING: Yeah.

DEREK: Yeah, it is. Of course it is.

KING: Couple of other things, do you...


KING: ... think a horse knows it's rider?

DEREK: Oh -- as you approach them, before you even touch them, they can tell. So it amazes me. I have -- I'm lucky in life -- I project something that that most of the time horses are comfortable with. And I've seen other people walk up to my horse that I've own for 18 years, and the horse just starts coming out of it's skin. It's just something they project.

KING: We'll tell you in the audience one of the most enjoyable moments I ever had was watching a screening with Bo Derek of when we were -- we were -- when we were -- We Were Soldiers...

DEREK: Yes, We Were Soldiers Once -- yeah.

KING: Yes. But when I sat there in that dark room, nothing happened, but it was very nice. I know you weren't crazy.

DEREK: Amazing film.

KING: Yes, thank you, Bo.

The book is, well, by Bo Derek, her autobiography, "Riding Lessons Everything That Matters In Life I Learned From Horses." Not too hard to take.

Bobby Knight is next and then Rich Cohen. Don't go away.


KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND the return visit with Bob Knight, the controversial long-time Indiana basketball coach who this year coached the Texas Tech and was runner up for Coach of the Year. He had an amazing year, and he's the author of "My Story" co- written with Bob Hamil.

Finally, Bob and I tells it from his point of view. When did you decide to do this, Bob?

BOB KNIGHT, COACH AND AUTHOR: You know, Bob and I first talked about it, Larry, way back in the late 70's, after we'd won an NCAA Tournament Championship. And I never was much for writing about a season or a year, and we talked about it off and on.

And then last year, when you and I had talked when I was out of coaching -- in fact, the first time that we talked, I was in the process of kind of working out an outline with Bob. And then, we had decided, well, we'll take it to some publishers and see if they have an interest, and then go from there. And so that's how it all got started.

But it goes way back to Genesis clear back in the 70's and I thought, well, when I was done, then I would write a story or write a book about coaching, and the experiences, and why I did, and what I did, and so forth and so on. And then another point kind of came up as time passed, Larry, and it was this. I kind of got tired of hearing somebody say something about me or write about me that I didn't know, that I'd never met, that I wasn't going to meet, and all the opinions formed by things people had said or written that I didn't know. And so I just thought, well, I'm going to write something here, and if people like it, that's great. And if they don't, at least it's coming straight from me.

KING: Was it cathartic? Was it good for you to get it out?

KNIGHT: You know, I really enjoyed it. I -- it wasn't -- there's not a lot of stuff in there, I think, that's very controversial. It's just kind of why I coach like I do, why I like coaching, how I got into it. But I really did enjoy it. And Bob was a wonderful person to work with.

Kind of interesting in that when we talked to publishers, they were really afraid of a guy that was an unknown quantity like Bob Hamil, but he may be the best writer that I've ever been around. He was the past president of the Football Writer's Association and also the Basketball Writer's Association. And I think he did a great job compiling things and putting it in a chronology that could be followed and understood.

KING: May I say I think he eloquently captured your voice. But you also realize, Bob, that once you did this and you're going to tour for it, you would have to do something you generally have not liked doing, and that's interviews.

KNIGHT: Well, yeah, that, in a way, is right, Larry. But in a way, it isn't. Because I have met some really interesting people. I've had a curiosity about some of the people that I've talked with and have really enjoyed it. And again, it's a chance to visit with you and I've always enjoyed that very much, as you know.

KING: Thank you. KNIGHT: And so I kind of -- I've had a good time doing this.

KING: What do you -- what about you? Let's discuss some aspects. What about you if you could change, you would change?

KNIGHT: Oh, you know, I think -- I did a story years and years ago -- way back in the 70's, with Frank DeFord (ph). And I talked to him about probably having too much of a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) kill the rabbits and let the elephants trample the gardens. And I think as time has passed, I've gotten a little bit better at leaving the rabbits go and pay attention to the elephants. And probably not nearly as much as I should.

But I think I would maybe take a little bit more time with some things. Maybe ignore some things. I think try to do that. I'm not sure how good I would be able to do it. You know, Al McGuire, who I know is a friend of yours...

KING: He sure was.

KNIGHT: ... used to kind of lecture to me about the press. And you know, Al would say, hey, you know, I don't like the press any better than you do. And I said, I'm not sure about that. But he said, you got to be a con job with guys that write. You got to tell them what they want. You got to do (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And I was never really -- as much as I loved Al, I was just never able to quite...


KNIGHT: ... to quite to do that.

KING: He could do it, but you weren't equipped to do it.

By the way, were you -- were you -- I know you recruited most of those guys. Were you proud of how well the Indiana team did? I know you're not crazy about the administration. Were you...


KING: ... how do you feel about their season the way...

KNIGHT: I was really pleased for the kids, Larry.

When I -- the day I left Indiana, I spoke in front of a crowd of about 15,000 people on the campus, and I did two things. I thanked the people for their support and I said, we've got a lot of students here whose mothers and fathers supported teams that I had in Indiana. And I'd like to thank all the people that have supported us. And then I finished by saying, and I'd like you to continue that same support for the teams that I've coached for these kids that continue on here now that I'm going. They're good kids, they're going to work hard, and they're going to do a very good job representing Indiana.

And I think they've done that. And I told the kids that when I left Indiana, that if I could ever be of help to any of you, all you got to do is let me know. KING: Do you have any bad feelings about Mike Davis, the coach who replaced you?

KNIGHT: No, not really. I don't think there's any problem in his replacing me. I think any of us, whether it's you in your business, or me in mine, or somebody else, there are opportunities that come along for people. And sometimes the opportunities are not in the best of circumstances, but nevertheless, they're opportunities that people have to take advantage of. That's never been a problem for me.

KING: Yes, if someone leaves, someone's got to step in.

KNIGHT: Yeah, there's no question about that in whatever the endeavor might be.

KING: Why do you like coaching?

KNIGHT: Well, you know, I kind of -- I really like basketball. It's quick. Bud Wilkinson once told me, Larry, that basketball amazed him. In football, he said, we've got time to stand on the sideline and figure out the next play, whether it's offense or defense. He said, it took about six seconds to run a play and now you've got 25 seconds to decide what you want to do as a coach.

And in basketball, it just is constant action. And you've got to be very quick. I think it's something that you really have to be prepared for. I think that preparation always leads to the team having the greater advantage.

KING: So the first thing is you like the game?

KNIGHT: I really like the game. I grew up in a town, a great town in Iowa, Orville, the home of Smuckers and it was a football/baseball (ph) town basically. But for some reason, I just kind of fell in love with basketball as a game.

KING: And why do you like -- you never wanted to coach in the pros did you?

KNIGHT: Well, you know, I used to joke, Larry, and say that I never thought that a player was worth more money than a coach, so I wasn't going to go into the pros. And then I think maybe sometimes that hasn't even been true in college. But I just never felt really that I would be a good pro coach. I just thought the way I went about coaching, what I expected, what I wanted to put into preparation, I wouldn't have the time to do. And I just never felt that I would be a very good coach in the pros.

KING: Bob Knight -- in this book he deals with all the issues that you read about the last three years and he's made many appearances, so we're covering some maybe he hasn't discussed. The book is, "My Story", co-written with Bob Hamil. Back with more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Bob, have you finally seen the movie the ESPN did on your life? I know you hadn't seen it when I last I heard.

KNIGHT: No, what I -- what I did, Larry, that night -- I'm a great movie fan. I think as I mentioned to you once before, I got to a lot of movies. And that night, Karen (ph) and I wanted to see a good movie, so we went out to see, "We Were Soldiers."

KING: Great movie.

KNIGHT: A great movie. And I had an interesting call from -- about two days after that was shown, Brian Dennehey called. I was always a fan -- I like his roles, I like the way he was, you know, a real man's man in the roles that he played on either television or in the movies.

And so, what I told him was this, I told him that I hadn't seen the movie. That I'd seen the excerpts and all the hype that ESPN put into the movie. But I said, I really felt badly for him because as I watched excerpts, I said, people that know me are going to watch him in the film and he's saying things that I wouldn't say saying things in a way that I wouldn't say them, using phrases that I didn't know.

And I told him, I said, Brian, if somebody would've even called me, I would have been glad to sit down with you and just simply said, hey, instead of that phrase, here's what I would've said. Or instead of that thing, here's what I -- or how I would've done it, or whatever. And I really felt that he got put in a very bad position by the writer and by the whole thing in that movie. And I think he felt that way because he told me he just wasn't very happy at all with the people with whom he dealt.

KING: Really?

KNIGHT: And that he just refused to do any of the promotional work for it.

KING: Two things you deal with in the book. One, the throwing of the chair, and you make it seem as if there was a method to what you were doing there, and that it was not all just a wild man. True?

KNIGHT: Well, you know, we'd had a really poorly officiated game on Thursday night and now we're playing on Saturday afternoon. And the officiating started out badly again. And I'd said a couple of things during the course of the first 10 or 12 minutes of the game to officials, and I got up and I didn't have a program.

It was the first time I'd ever coach a game without wearing a jacket. I didn't have a jacket to take off. There wasn't a water cooler there. None of the things that coaches usually grab, or kick, or throw, or whatever. And the only thing I could find was a chair.

And I just picked it up and it was more a show of displeasure than anything else. I made sure that the chair didn't hit anybody. I rolled -- throw it across the floor -- threw it across the floor where it kind of slid. And after it was over, Larry, I did have -- tried to inject a little humor in it. I said later that a friend of mine and I bought a furniture store, and if you'd buy a coach, I'd throw in a chair.

KING: And you also discussed the choking incident, which you said finally addressing it, was not choking in your opinion. That the film is not a true accurate portrayal of what occurred there.

KNIGHT: You know, I honestly don't remember the incident at all, Larry. I looked at the tape just like you did. And just like you, I never saw the tape ran at normal speed. It was always run at a very slow speed.

Bob Hamil had a great line. I thought that he had interject it into the book, and it was this one. That the -- when I made contact with the boys chest with one hand, the accusation made against me was that I had choked the guy with two hands and had to be pulled off by an assistant coach.

Now when you looked at the tape, you saw that both of those things were completely untrue.

KING: Right.

KNIGHT: That I made contact with the boy with one hand that probably lasted about a second. I honestly can't tell you whether I was upset, whether I wasn't upset, I don't know. All I know is we just continue right on. I said something to him, I put my hand out, we continued ride on with it, and went about practice in a very normal way. And when Bob said that when I touched the kid, that the clarity of the film became that which made the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) film look like it was clear.

KING: When you left Indiana and then coached at Texas Tech -- Texas Tech's certainly a major school in a major conference, but not Indiana. What was that like?

KNIGHT: Well, I'm not sure Indiana was Indiana when I went there either. You know, Indiana had finished in the bottom of the conference several times in the few previous years, and we had to really work at getting it going. I really really enjoyed Texas Tech, Larry.

I think maybe -- you're in a -- what you do is, I think, really interesting, because you cover an extremely wide variety of topics from night to night. In basketball, when you're staying with it, is kind of the same thing, but getting in a different situation. With all the feelings that I had about Indiana, pro/con, every way, all that was done, what could've been done, what should've been done, whatever -- you know, in the final analysis, I'm the guy that really came out ahead because I got into a great situation with extremely good people.

When I talked to you last, I really didn't know that I'd be going back into coaching just before that. And I talked to you shortly after -- just a couple of days, I think, after I was hired at Texas Tech. And it's just been an extremely good situation with the President, Dave Schmidly, and with our Athletic Director, Gerald Meyers, all along. And I've really enjoyed being a part of a great community.

KING: How is the recruiting going?

KNIGHT: It's been really good.

We lose one senior, Andy Ellis, who did a really good job for us this year. We round up finishing in the tie for third in the conference getting into the NCAA Tournament, we didn't last very long. So that's hopefully an objective that we can do a little better with next year. But the kids that we have coming in, the kids that are interested in coming, we're really pleased with. We've been able to get a commitment from a very good junior in Texas, and a couple of very good seniors from the state of Texas, and a couple of kids from elsewhere. So I really feel pleased.

And I think it's a reflection on three things. I think it's a reflection on the university, on the basketball situation we have, and on the people at the university in Lubbock. Great situation and the people that are there have done a great job working with us, with the kids that we bring in to visit as recruits.

KING: I wasn't able to take you up on the invitation last year, but I'm going to take a reincheck and come and sit on the bench with you at Texas Tech this year.

KNIGHT: Well, I would like nothing better than for you to do that. And I think you would really enjoy the atmosphere, the university, and the people that you would meet at Texas Tech.

KING: You've got a deal. Thanks, Bobbie.

KNIGHT: Larry, thank you very much.

KING: Bob Knight and his terrific book, "My Story", co-written with Bob Hamil -- just published -- available everywhere.

Speaking of terrific books, my friend, Rich Cohen, has got a new dandy out. It's called, "Lake Effect". He's next -- don't go away.


KING: What a show tonight -- Bo Derek and Bobbie Knight, and we top it off with Rich Cohen, journalist and author. His new book is, "Lake Effect". His earlier books were "Tough Jews" and "The Avengers". He has written for the New Yorker, New York Times magazine, also a contributing editor at Rolling Stones. And he's writing a film script with Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger. Now I will tell you up front he's the son of my best friend, Herb Cohen, who's also written one great book and got another one coming finally after 21 years.

But this is the story of Rich's life, growing up on the lake. The book is, "Lake Effect", the lake is Lake Michigan. And you write it as a novel. Why? RICH COHEN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Well, and sort of like a memoir. It's just a story of me and my friends. You know, you guys grew up in Brooklyn. And there's this an idea that nothing ever happen in the suburbs, that we weren't living a real life. Well, we were doing stuff, you just couldn't see us.

And that's really what it is. It's a story of growing up in the 80's, and it's me and my friends, and sort of the coolest kids I grew up with. And Lake Effect, you know, in the Midwest, it's two or three degrees cooler by the lake. That's the temperature, but we thought it referred to the kids also.

So we were cooler by the lake, and it's our story, and it's sort of our time. In the mid-80's, we had Reagan smiling down on us, we had everything going on. We were happy we were in the 80's and that's what the book's about.

KING: Why didn't you do it as Rich Cohen and your actual friends?

COHEN: Well, it is really, you know, sort of all...

KING: It is your life.

COHEN: ... my real friends. It's just all -- I wanted to -- I changed the names and stuff because I wanted to really just make it about the characters and make it kind of universal about the people. You know, and it's sort of like a love letter, I think, to my friends and where I grew up. And I think that to a degree that everybody had friends like this. You know, I was lucky that I had a friend that was much more cooler than I was, that girls liked when they didn't like me. That took me under his wing and showed me how things are done. And his name was Jamie Drew (ph) and everybody called him "Drewlicious" (ph) and that's what -- that's what the book is about.

KING: The only real person then, named is your father.

COHEN: Yes -- my -- you can't keep my father out. He's banging door as he's busting the doors down, he's getting in, you know. He's -- he was different than the other fathers where I grew up in.

KING: In what way?

COHEN: Well, I grew up where, you know, Donald Rumsfeld's from where I grew up.

KING: Correct.

COHEN: You know, when you hear Donald Rumsfeld, you hear the voice of Kenilworth, Illinois. My father is the voice of (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: You ain't kidding.

COHEN: Yeah, so everybody's getting on the train -- the commuter train with their newspapers and their gray suits. And my father, you know, is hanging around in his dirty T-shirt waiting to go to work -- whatever he does.

I had a friend who actually said to him, "Mr. Cohen, what do you do for a living?" And he said, "Son, I'm what you call a house husband." Kidding of course.

KING: You also went to one of the most famous high schools in America, New Trier.

COHEN: Yes, it's a story of New Trier, too, which is the sort of...

KING: Charleton Heston.

COHEN: Yeah, the John Hughes high school.

KING: Anne Margaret.

COHEN: They'd always say, 98 percent of the kids go onto college. As my father would say, what went wrong with the other two percent?

KING: Yeah, what happened there? It was also a rich community, right? So we are not dealing with as opposed to growing up in Benson (ph)?

COHEN: Right.

KING: Poverty stricken youths.

COHEN: No. We had our -- we had our own problems. But I always said that the kids where I grew up went to college the way like a hack politician goes for another term, four more years -- four more years. It's like four more years of doing nothing.

KING: You were all Cub fans?

COHEN: Well, there were some White Sox fans because the parents were from down there, and because they had fireworks at (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Park. But basically, we were all Cubs fans, which taught us basically, the natural condition of life is to lose and to lose all the time.

KING: Was this the band of guys that were together every day? I mean, you would see them -- this was regular attached things?

COHEN: We were together every day. We did ditched school, we went to the Cub's games, we experimented with drinking, with drugs, which is like a horrible thing for my parents to find out.

KING: Your father found out from reading this book?


KING: He called me up and said, "I'm reading my son's book. He took drugs."

COHEN: Well, basically...

KING: It was a shock...

COHEN: ... it was a story where there's a statute of limitations on...

KING: They can arrest you.

COHEN: ... statute of limitations on grounding, I think. When you have your own apartment, you can no longer be grounded.

KING: Why this switch, though? "Tough Jews" was about Jewish gangsters in America. "The Avengers", an incredible story about a Jewish uprising in a ghetto. And now you switched to growing up on a lakefront in Chicago, an autobiographical tone?

COHEN: Well, to me it's not a -- it's not really a switch at all. Basically, I think if I'm with a group of people and we're hanging out and there's one story I want to tell them, what -- that's the story I should write. And I felt that way about the Jewish gangsters, and I felt that way about the Partisans, and I really felt that way about my friends.

You know, we had amazing stories, and part of it was probably growing up with my father's stories, and wanting to have my own stories, and wanting to have my own stories. And, you know, like you said, my father was always in those stories, but it was me and my friends, and what we did, and the things that happened to us. And I thought it was just as interesting as anything else.

KING: And I would tell you the reviews have been tremendous. I've read it, it's a wonderful book, but I'm partial because I'm going to like anything Rich does. So, but it's, in some sources, been compared to a modern "Catcher in the Rye." That's how good a writer he is.

We'll right back with Rich Cohen, the book is, "Lake Effect". Don't go away.


KING: Rich Cohen -- the new book is, "Lake Effect" growing up in the 80's. We've had books on growing up in the 60's and growing up in the 70's. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) certainly.

COHEN: Growing up in the 80's is -- was better. We weren't worried about anything, we weren't going to any rally's, we weren't trying to prove to the world -- we knew the world was all messed up anyway.

KING: No war or going to be -- not going to be -- not going to be drafted.

COHEN: Not going to be drafted. Grenada, we were worried for a couple of days, will they take me? But then it was over. So basically, it was a really good time to grow up. It seemed like nothing was happening. It seemed like we had no music, and of course, now looking back, you realize the 80's sort of was everywhere. But it's also sort of, to me what was important about the book is it's really, for me, just 16 to 26 and about friendships and what happens.

And sort of like, you'd start out when you were a kid and you're with your friends all the time. And then you're not anymore and you can't be. And even when you go out at night, you know you're not going to be out until five or six in the morning. And it's kind of like sad in a way, kind of bittersweet. And I wanted to sort of capture what happens in those 10 years.

KING: That's why you took it through college and beyond, right?

COHEN: Yeah, it's really three sections: Chicago, New Orleans where I went to college, and New York where I went and I got a job as a messenger at the New Yorker and met people that told me that basically even though material that is your every day life is actually things you can write about.

KING: What is friendship? Do you know, it's the hardest thing you can manufacture. If someone says I have three good friends, they are blessed.

COHEN: Well, I think like there's an amazing kind of friend you can have, which is what this book is about where -- and it happens less as you get older, which is a friend that you actually start to walk like him, and you start talking like him, and you start using his phrases, and you feel like an idiot. Because sometimes you'll use his own phrases in front of him, and you'll like, oh, my god. I'm an imposter. I'm imitating him right in front of him. But -- and it's like you're learning a whole way of living. You know, and when you get older, some book can do that to you, a movie can do that to you. And that's what this friendship is.

KING: It's kind of a love relationship.

COHEN: It is.

KING: Yeah.

COHEN: It's like...

KING: You have pain, but it also has that wonderful ingredient of loyalty.

COHEN: Yeah, it's absolutely...


COHEN: And the person's on your side, and he's from your country, you know, I mean, literally like your hometown, and his house is your house, your house is his house. And, I mean, the first time I was ever drunk, this guy stood me up against a tree and hosed me down. So that's friendship. KING: You also had a crazy friend. We've all had them. There's one in every crowd, right?

COHEN: Well...

KING: Well, crazy -- dumb.

COHEN: Well, we had -- we had a lot of different kids that we grew up with, and there was sort of, you know, you get into the thing where you have one of every kind of friend in the story. And it's sort like stand by me or something if you remember that movie, where there's all different kinds of kids.

But we -- I think, that the -- that the kids that I grew up with, what's amazing is they've all sort of did really well in life.

KING: They have then -- yeah.

COHEN: Yeah, and I think it's because we all sort of helped each other, and stood by each other, in all different kinds of families, in all different kinds of situations. But we found sort of that we were kind of like brothers.

KING: Sub-Relationship was Tom Cruise's first famous movie was set in your neighborhood, right?

COHEN: Glencoe, Illinois, "Risky Business."

KING: "Risky Business."

COHEN: I thought of starting a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in my house. Unfortunately, my parents didn't go away for long enough period of time. Otherwise, I had -- I had the -- all the people lined up, I was going to do it.

KING: You're doing this film with Scorsese and Jagger. It's about the record industry?

COHEN: It's about rock and roll executives -- yes.

KING: Done?

COHEN: Basically done and hopefully, you know, you'll see it on big screen some day.

KING: Cast yet?

COHEN: Not cast yet.

KING: Screenplay different from novels or non-fiction?

COHEN: Yeah, it is pretty different, because mostly it's about, you know, the plot and how people talk.

Like Lake Effect is about -- just about the mood of sort of a summer day, I think. KING: Yeah.

COHEN: And a movie can't be about something so...

KING: You can't film a though.

COHEN: Yeah. It's a great thing about a book. It could just be about, you know, the feeling of a summer day that never ends. And a movie's about, I think, a lot of it is about the language and the way people talk.

KING: And you continue to be one of the more prolific magazine writers in America. You're always with Harper's, New Yorker -- there's always something with Rich Cohen. You've become like embedded.

COHEN: It's just because I want people to like me, Larry.

KING: Working on another book?

COHEN: Not right now. Right now I'm just sort of working on screenplays and some magazine stories and such.

KING: I couldn't be happier for you.

COHEN: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Rich Cohen -- I highly recommend this book as do critics. You will love it. The journalist, the author of the book is Lake Effect. Earlier, Bo Derek, and Bob Knight.

Thanks for joining us on this edition of Larry King Weekend. Good night.




Back to the top