Legendary coach Bob Knight reunites with family he helped 30 years earlier

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – People know Bob Knight for a number of things; winning three national championships, leading IU to a perfect season in 1976, and for throwing chairs. For one Ossian family, it was the General’s generous heart that touched their lives forever.

On June 17th, 1986 Bob Knight emceed a benefit dinner for Nathaniel “Nat”  Leamon at Norwell High School. The five year old suffered from cerebral palsy and his family was raising money for an electric wheelchair. Knight spoke at the benefit dinner and made a special impact on the five year old’s life.

“I remember he picked me up. He said if you get better you can play for me,” Nat recalled 30 years later.

While the now 35 year old never suited up for a game at Assembly Hall, he was Knight’s guest of honor for three Big Ten games during the ’86-87 season, the last time IU won a national championship.

After the final game, Nat never saw Bob Knight again. So when he saw Knight would be in town signing autographs at Playball Ink he knew he had to go.

After waiting in line for well over an hour Nat got the reuinion he waited 30 years for. With the article from the benefit in tow the Leamon family reintroduced themselves to the Hall of Fame coach. Knight remembered the little boy he met all those years ago standing before him now as a man.

Knight signed the article for Nat and at the bottom of the picture he wrote “You could’ve played for me” – the highest praise from one of the most legendary figures in sports history.

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s