For those of you who lived to remember 1994, you can unquestionably cite your exact location when you heard the news of the infamous O.J. Simpson-White Ford Bronco chase down the 405 freeway. For basketball fans who watched the NBA Finals Game 5 between the Rockets and Knicks on that fateful date of June 17, 1994, you'll surely remember NBC Sports commentator Bob Costas reporting the news during the intro to the game.
Knicks and Rockets fans got double the excitement, with a simulcast of the chase and the game, as you see in the clip above. The series was tied at 2-2. TNT analyst and former Rockets point guard Kenny Smith revealed at a TNT luncheon on Tuesday that his squad heard about the chase, and even talked about it on the bench during a timeout. He even admitted that their head coach Rudy Tomjanovich was more than a little interested, too.
"I go in the huddle, I’m like, 'O.J.’s on the run!' Then [head coach] Rudy [Tomjanovich] comes into the huddle and we’re all talking.
'What are you guys doing?' [he asked.]
“OJ’s on the run!”
'What are you doing? We’re in the middle of the NBA Finals!'
He draws a play up, we start walking out and he pulls me back, [and asks,] 'Is he really on the run?'"
No surprise there, being that almost every American was talking about the chase. What is surprising is that former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy admitted during this year's NBA Finals that O.J.'s accomplice in the chase Al Cowlings told Van Gundy that they drove the Bronco slowly so they could listen to Game 5 on the radio.
Not that anyone remembers, but the Knicks ended up winning the game 91-84. However, the Rockets would go on to win Games 6 and 7 to clinch the NBA title.