Of the 68 teams in Power Five conference football, there are only seven that Oklahoma has never played. That number drops to six this weekend as the Sooners welcome the UCF Knights of Orlando to Norman (12 p.m., ABC).
This year, the Big 12 upperclassmen have treated the freshman class the way Ogre treated Skolnik and Booger back at Adams College, so let’s spend our time ranking something silly instead of previewing the football version of an ultimate wedgie that OU will likely give UCF this Saturday.
The Sooners have played Trojans and Tide, Mountainers and Mean Green, but for the first time in school history, OU will take on a team of Knights in football (I know, Army is the Black Knights, but I’ll take the win on a technicality).
With that in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to rank my favorite Knights. And just so I don’t bore you with tales about Sir William Wallace or Richard the Lionheart, here are the Top 10 Knights of my lifetime.
New York Mets’ Ray Knight and his wife Nancy Lopez enjoy the 1986 World Series Championship ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan on Oct. 28, 1986. (Frank Becerra Jr/USA TODAY)
10. Ray Knight
Knight’s playing career was before my time, but he was the manager of the Reds when I was a kid. He was on the 1986 Miracle Mets team, where in July of that year, he delivered one heck of a right hook to Eric Davis.
Knight was hired by Marge Schott to manage the Reds in 1996 and it did not go well in The Queen City for Ray. He was fired after two seasons, and then went on to do some television work for the Nationals from 2007 to 2018.
He also was famously married to LPGA legend and former University of Tulsa golfer Nancy Lopez from 1982-2009.
Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight (9) looks to throw a pass during the Sooners’ 45-31 victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2, 2014 in New Orleans. (Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports)
9. Trevor Knight
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, other than that one magical night at The Sugar Bowl against Alabama, Trevor was more maligned than he was loved in Norman. But Trevor once had Katy Perry ask him on national television to give her a call. He makes the cut.
Former Stanford Cardinal player Brevin Knight waves to the crowd during a Stanford-Yale game in 2010. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
8. Brevin Knight
Brevin had a really solid NBA career, playing for nine teams in 13 seasons, but his best years were from 2004-06 with the Charlotte Bobcats (yes, that used to be a thing). I remember Knight most for his college days at Stanford, where the Cardinal were a late night ESPN staple with Brevin manning the point guard spot and Mark Madsen controlling the paint.
Fun fact: Brevin and his brother Brandin, who played collegiately at Pitt, went to Seton Hall Prep, the alma mater of WWLS’s Al Eschbach.
New Kids on the Block were “Hangin’ Tough” when brothers Jonathan and Jordan Knight took the stage at the 2023 Iowa State Fair. (Reese Strickland/For the Register / USA TODAY Network)
7. Jordan & Jonathan Knight
If you are over the age of 40, you know that Jordan and his brother Jonathan made up 40% of New Kids on the Block, but Jordan owes his place on this list to the shenanigans that happened on VH1’s The Surreal World. Jordan appeared on Season 3, which was made famous by one of the most bizarre, interesting and entertaining couplings of all time when Brigitte Nielson and Flavor Flav became the love story that no one realized they needed.
Jordan actually was pretty boring on the show, but any chance I get to think about the Flav-Nielsen experience is a chance I look forward to.
Meanwhile, Jonathan has carved out a nice career post-NKOTB as a host of the HGTV show Farmhouse Fixer.
An actor playing Suge Knight appears during the Girl Scout cookie sales presentation at the 2016 Academy Awards. (Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Network)
6. Suge Knight
The founder of Death Row Records, Suge was a part of many famous, or should I say, infamous stories in the 90’s. There was the claim that he dangled Vanilla Ice by his ankles off of a balcony which made Vanilla decide that he would sign over royalty money to Suge for his hit song Ice Ice Baby, but what you may not know is that before he was doing his thing in the entertainment industry, Marion “Suge” Knight was a defensive end at El Camino College and then two years at UNLV. He camped with the Rams in 1987, but was cut.
If you haven’t kept up with Suge lately, it’s not going well.
Actor Wayne Knight in 2014 on the set of his TV Land sitcom “The Exes,” in Studio City, California. (Jefferson Graham/USA TODAY Network)
5. Wayne Knight
If you’re my age, the Pavlov’s dog’s reaction to a photo of Wayne Knight is saying, “Hello, Newman,” but the Seinfeld actor has actually had a quite distinguished acting career. He appeared in Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Basic Instinct and Jurassic Park. His first credited role, however, was as the camp activities director at Kellerman’s, in a film you may have heard of called Dirty Dancing.
Nike founder Phil Knight arrives before a 2017 Oregon-Washington State Cougars at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. (Scott Olmos/USA TODAY Sports)
4. Phil Knight
Phil Knight, the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike, is definitely the richest person on this list with an estimated worth of $40 billion. Part of me doesn’t like Phil Knight, because he’s one of those people that seems to be annoyingly good at every single thing he does, but age and maturity has made me see things differently. I can’t help but respect the empire that Knight has built, and while I know there were some liberties taken for the sake of Hollywood, I highly recommend seeing the movie Air, which details the story of how Nike signed Michael Jordan in 1985. Ben Affleck plays Phil Knight in the movie, and if you’ve got Ben Affleck playing you in a movie, you’re doing alright in my book.
3. Ted Knight
Your grandparents know Ted Knight as Baxter from The Mary Tyler Moore Show or as Henry Rush on the sitcom Too Close for Comfort, but sports fans remember him most as Judge Smails in Caddyshack. It was actually the last movie Knight ever appeared in. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1977. He received treatment and nailed the role of Judge Smails in 1980, but the cancer returned and he passed away in 1986.
A little known fact about Ted Knight: In 1975, he recorded an album of novelty songs. The album was produced by Lawrence Welk and gave us this banger, which was heard on the Dr. Demento radio show.
Bob Knight yells at a referee during the 1979 season. (The Herald-Times/USA TODAY Network)
Bob Knight Old Images 79 Yell
2. Bob Knight
The General, who won 902 games at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech was truly one-of-a-kind when he roamed the sidelines during his 45-year coaching career. He gave us great press conference moments like this, he gave us great sideline moments like this, great coaches show moments like this and great pregame moments like this. If you ever need a good laugh (and you aren’t offended by NSFW language), I highly recommend typing “Bob Knight golf” into your YouTube search bar.
But sometimes we forget that Bob Knight was one hell of a basketball coach as well. His Indiana teams of the mid-70’s are legendary and after his unceremonious ending at Indiana, he went to Texas Tech and took the Red Raiders to the NCAA tournament four times in a five year span. Only one other coach has ever done that at Tech, Chris Beard, who Knight hired away from Seminole Junior College to be his assistant in Lubbock.
Oh yeah, he also coached some guy named Krzyzewski at Army. He turned into a decent coach, too.
Gladys Knight performs the national anthem before the Patriots-Rams Super Bowl in Atlanta on Feb. 3, 2019. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY/Sports)
1. Gladys Knight
The only woman on this list comes in at the top of the list. How good was Gladys Knight? Early in her Motown Records career, Gladys Knight and The Pips opened for Diana Ross and The Supremes. Gladys was kicked off the tour. Why? According to Gladys, because her soulful performance overshadowed Diana Ross.
Gladys has also compiled an impressive resumé of performances at sporting events. She sang America the Beautiful at Wrestlemania IV in 1988 and national anthems at Game 1 of the World Series in 1991, Super Bowl LIII in 2019 and the NBA All-star game in 2021.
(What should I rank next? No suggestion is too silly. Send me an email at [email protected] or a message on Twitter/X or Instagram.)