With news yesterday that O.J. Simpson will get an early release from prison in Nevada comes O.J. Simpson stories.
Remember the infamous Ford Bronco chase on the Los Angeles Freeway in 1994?
Simpson and his friend, Al Cowlings stopped engaged in a 90-minute speed chase with the LAPD. Simpson became a person of interest after the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman and a warrant was put out for his arrest.
The high profile chase however, intruded on basketball fans. Back on the east coast, game 5 of the NBA Finals between the NBA Finals was going on at Madison Square Garden.
While the Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon led all scorers with 27 points and 8 rebounds in game 5 against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, his Rockets teammates were keenly aware of the chase.
Appearing on Scoop B Radio, native New Yorker, former Houston Rocket and current TNT Inside the NBA analyst Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith says that even folks playing in the game knew what was going on.
Smith says that during timeouts, players were watching the Ford Bronco/LAPD chase on television’s mounted on the scorer’s table. “I go in the huddle, I’m like, “O.J.’s on the run,” Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith told Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson in the interview.
Click the link here to listen to the interview in its entirety.
“What are you doing? We’re in the middle of the NBA Finals,” Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said to Smith.
According to Smith, Tomjanovich drew up a play and as players were walking back on the court after the timeout, Tomjanovich pulls Smith to the side and asks: “Is he really on the run?”
“So that’s how we found out about it,” said Smith. “It was like what the hell is on? This guy is running! Like no one ever did that.”
“It was going on in California,” said Smith. “I live there now. I didn’t know about the slow speed chase; they do that all the time. In New York, they’re gonna shoot your car. So I’m like: ‘are they gonna shoot the car down?’ ‘Are they going to shoot the tires out?’“
Simpson would eventually surrender to the LAPD and was taken into custody.
“It definitely was a distraction,” Smith said.
The Knicks won Game 5 91-84.