(6/17) June 17, 1994: On this day in sports history…
OJ on the Run, Juice on the Loose
Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the more bizarre stories in American sports / pop culture. Five days prior, in 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered in Nicole Simpson’s home. Details soon emerged and OJ became the prime suspect. On the day OJ was supposed to turn himself in to LAPD custody, (a deal brokered by his lawyers) OJ hit the freeways of Los Angeles with his loyal companion Al Cowlings aboard his now iconic white Ford Bronco leading police on a long, albeit slow-speed chase. Everyone over 3 and under 90 years of age probably has some recollection of where they were when this all went down. I sat in my parents’ family room celebrating the end of 5th grade and eagerly waiting for Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks. This particular week of June, 1994 was heaven for a sports-obsessed 5th grader. The New York Rangers hoisted their first Stanley Cup in 50 years, Ernie Els was moving up the leaderboard at Oakmont in the US Open, Tony Gywnn, Matt Williams, and the Montreal Expos were keeping baseball fans excited in the shadow of a looming baseball strike, and the United States was hosting their first ever World Cup of soccer. (Remeber this guy?—>)
I watched as Anthony Mason played out of his mind while Marv Albert gave way to a split screen with Tom Brokaw and local LA affiliates. I watched with part anger (missing large chunks of a classic Patrick vs. Hakeem battle) part intrigue (is this dude gonna blow his brains out on national tv) and part confusion (why are people prank calling newscasters and yelling Baba-Boooey?). The chase ended unceremoniously as did the game, the Knicks took game 5 at Madison Square Garden, but squandered game 6 and 7 as the Rockets won the Title. OJ survived the night, and the subsequent Trial of the Century, but good times were hardly what followed. Where were you 20 years ago tonight?