The Power of Hatred

Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Bobby Knight is a jerk. His failings are well documented. He kicked his players, verbally abused those around him, thrown chairs during a game, and on many occasions demonstrated that he is one of the biggest assholes to ever walk the face of the Earth.

He is also one of the greatest coaches of all time, a three-time national champion who won despite have inferior athletic talent.

I had never really thought about the causal relationship between those two facts. In general, I just thought, “It’s a shame that such a great coach is such an insufferable ass.”

Then today, I read this article by Jason Whitlock.

In it, he argues (quite persuasively to my ear) that Knight’s failings as a person give him the drive to be a great coach.

“Bobby Knight is so … real. He’s petty. He’s insecure. He’s vindictive. He’s bitter. He’s a bully. He’s paranoid. He’s out of control.

Insecurity, pettiness, vindictiveness and paranoia – things that can destroy a man’s personal life – are the fuel that drive a man in his professional life. Most men just don’t have the courage to embrace these negative characteristics.

No one speaks out on behalf of hatred. But it’s driving Knight. For five years Bobby Knight has been trying to embarrass Indiana. That drive is so strong that I’m not sure Knight gives a damn about Texas Tech or Lubbock – except for the Red Raiders’ usefulness as lucky, winning pawns in the game Knight is playing with Indiana administrators and Davis.

And, man, wouldn’t it be great to watch Knight act like a complete @$% at the Final Four? Wouldn’t that be fun? With the whole world watching, Knight would give Indiana the finger one last time. He could become the spokesman for bitterness.
Hatred, paranoia, vindictiveness, pettiness and insecurity – the emotional energy that created the greatest coach the sports world has ever seen.”

While I never want to be a jerk like Bobby Knight, it does raise some interesting questions about the nature of genius and leadership.

I know that I have certain “dark” emotions that drive me. I find that envy, greed, and pride are pretty powerful forces. I covet the success that other have. I want to succeed and do better than my peers.

What dark emotions help drive your success? Are the any ways in which hate or being a jerk have helped you?

1 thought on “

  1. When I was younger, since I was bigger (and probably more mentally/emotionally developed) than some of my 4th grade peers, I was routinely labeled a bully. But hey – it paid off – I was voted Most Popular in 8th grade! (just kidding – it wasn’t worth it, I’ve changed a lot, trust me).

    I hope you saw this post of mine from last September – – don’t listen to them with the kids in the room!

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