Brett Morgen did a terrific job with the latest ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, June 17, 1994, which takes us through the historic confluence of sports moments across the country, tied together by the stunning developments in the O.J. Simpson murder case.
The Knicks and Houston Rockets will forever be connected to the Simpson case because coverage of Simpson as a fugitive overshadowed Game 5 of the NBA Finals at the Garden. It might have been Patrick Ewing's greatest all-around performance on the biggest stage of his career and most of the nation was watching Al Cowlings drive down the 5 freeway with police cars in a low-speed chase.
As Morgen's documentary shows with live-feed video, even the usually smooth Bob Costas looked rattled as he had to segue from the game to the Simpson coverage. Credit Costas for being conscious of how to delicately transition between the two. It shows you just how difficult that job can be and the talent it takes to be able to handle it.
The day began with a euphoric parade down the Canyon of Heroes for the Stanley Cup champion Rangers in New York City and ended with a much more bizarre parade scene -- with people running to line the freeway and each overpass and side roads to wave at the suicidal Simpson (and at the sea of camera lenses among them and cluster news network helicopters above) -- in Los Angeles.
It's incredible to recall that also on this day, Arnold Palmer made his final appearance U.S. Open appearnace in Oakmont, Pa. And the World Cup, hosted in the U.S., opened that day, as well.
Personally, I will remember the day for the smiles on the faces of my parents, who were still beaming about the Rangers Cup championship (they popped champagne in our den that night of Game 7...it's an image I never want to forget, even though I grew up an Islanders fan), and how my friend, Ben, and I planned to hit the city in the morning for the parade and then hang around to find a way in to Game 5 to see the Knicks.
What a time to be in New York City. There was a buzz everywhere you went. And after the Knicks won, I thought for sure there would be a second championship to celebrate.
Where were you? Share your story and memories in the comments area below.
ESPN plans to run the documentary five more times. Find the schedule here.
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* - J.A. Adande had a report on ESPN.com today that cited a source saying Amar'e Stoudemire is "done" with the Suns. "He's gone," the source said. This is a significant development for the Knicks, who know they'll need at least one big, either Amar'e or Chris Bosh, to come to New York to give LeBron James any reason to make the move. If Amar'e had stayed, the competition for Bosh would have been much greater, with Miami and Chicago both looking for high-end bigs, plus other teams possibly getting into the mix via sign-and-trade.
Remember, James wanted the Cavs to trade for Amar'e before the trade deadline but a deal couldn't be completed.
Two weeks to go.
* - The NBA Summer League schedule was released on Wednesday. We know the Knicks will have a team there, but what we don't know is if Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni will need to be there or, instead, remain back in New York still working on free agency. The summer league schedule opens at UNLV on July 9, which is a day after the free agent signing moratorium lifts and teams can officially announce signings. The Knicks hope to be extremely busy at that time.
Their team doesn't begin play until July 11. Here's the schedule:
Sunday, July 11 - vs. Nuggets
Monday, July 12 - vs. Lakers
Wednesday, July 14 - vs. Raptors
Friday, July 16 - vs. Pistons
Saturday, July 17 - vs. Wizards
I expect that MSG Network will televise all games as usual.