1994 NBA Finals

The 1994 NBA Finals was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1993–94 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion Houston Rockets played the Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks for the championship, with the Rockets holding home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series. The Rockets defeated the Knicks 4 games to 3 to win the team's first NBA championship.

This matchup was Hakeem Olajuwon's second NBA Finals appearance, his other being in 1986, where Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics defeated the Houston Rockets four games to two. The series was Patrick Ewing's first NBA Finals appearance. The Rockets came in with strong determination to win not only the franchise's first NBA championship, but the city's first championship in a league that still existed, while the Knicks were looking to add a third NBA championship trophy, as the Knicks' last trophy came from the 1973 NBA Finals. The Knicks also hoped to impress their new owners Viacom, who had just bought Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), their longtime owners (after the series however, Viacom sold the Knicks and the rest of the Madison Square Garden properties).

The series was hailed as a meeting of the two great centers who had previously played for a championship in college. In 1984 while Olajuwon was with the University of Houston and Ewing was with Georgetown University, Georgetown had beaten Houston 84–75 in the 1984 NCAA Championship game. In this series, however, Olajuwon outperformed Ewing,[1][2][3] outscoring him in every game of the series and posting numbers of 26.9 ppg on 50.0% shooting compared to Ewing's 18.9 ppg on 36.3% shooting.[4] However, Ewing set an NBA finals record in the series with a total of 30 blocks, and he tied the single-game record of 8 blocks in Game 5.[5] Tim Duncan would later set the record for most blocks in a Finals series (2003) with 32 blocks in six games while Dwight Howard would set the record for most blocked shots in a Finals game with 9 blocked shots in Game 4 of the 2009 Finals while with the Orlando Magic.

During the series, the Houston Rockets played seven low-scoring, defensive games against the New York Knicks. After splitting the first two games in Houston, the Knicks won two out of three games at Madison Square Garden, which also hosted the Rangers first Stanley Cup celebration in 54 years during the series.

In Game 6, however, Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon blocked a last-second championship-winning shot attempt by John Starks, giving the Rockets an 86–84 victory and forcing a Game 7, which made Knicks Coach Pat Riley the first (and to this date, the only) coach in a Game 7 NBA Finals on two teams, having been with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1984 and 1988. In addition, the Knicks set a record for most playoff games played in one season, with 25. The Detroit Pistons tied this record in 2005.[6] The Boston Celtics, coached by Doc Rivers, would surpass it during their championship season of 2008 when they played 26.[6]

The Rockets beat the Knicks in Game 7, 90–84, enabling the city of Houston to not only celebrate its first NBA and fifth professional sports championship (first in an existing league), but also deny New York from having both NBA and NHL championships in the same year (Chicago had suffered this fate two years earlier in 1992, with the Bulls winning their second NBA championship and the Blackhawks losing in the Stanley Cup Finals). For his efforts Olajuwon was named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. For the Knicks, Riley had the unfortunate distinction of having become the first (and to this date, the only) coach to lose a Game 7 NBA Finals on two teams, having lost to the Celtics in 1984. It also denied him the distinction of being the first coach to win a Game 7 NBA Finals with two teams, having defeated the Detroit Pistons in 1988.

NBC Sports used Ahmad Rashād (Knicks sideline) and Hannah Storm (Rockets sideline).

Hal Douglas narrated the season-ending documentary Clutch City for NBA Entertainment.

1994 NBA Finals
Houston Rockets Rudy Tomjanovich 4
New York Knicks Pat Riley 3
DatesJune 8–22
MVPHakeem Olajuwon
(Houston Rockets)
Hall of FamersKnicks:
Patrick Ewing (2008)
Hakeem Olajuwon (2008)
Pat Riley (2008)
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Darell Garretson (2016)
Eastern FinalsKnicks defeat Pacers, 4–3
Western FinalsRockets defeat Jazz, 4–1


Houston Rockets

The Rockets chose Hakeem Olajuwon as the first overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft. Olajuwon's first nine NBA seasons included numerous All-Star, All-NBA and All-Defensive selections, but the closest he got to a championship was in 1986, when the Rockets fell two games short of a title against a powerful Boston Celtics team.

By his tenth season, Olajuwon became a more complete player, and he led the Rockets to a 15–0 start en route to a 58–24 record. But after a four-game defeat of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, they blew a pair of big fourth quarter leads at home and lost to the Phoenix Suns to begin the second round (in the process earning a derisive nickname of 'Choke City' by the Houston Chronicle).

In response, the Rockets used the headline as motivation, overcoming a 0–2 deficit to defeat the Suns in seven games (earning the nickname 'Clutch City'). In the conference finals, Houston defeated the Utah Jazz in five games to claim their third conference title. Olajuwon won the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards at season's end.

New York Knicks

Like Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing was a first overall pick of the NBA draft. Ewing was picked by the Knicks in the 1985 draft, and won Rookie of the Year that season. But despite earning All-Star accolades of his own, the Knicks teams he played with only made it past the first round twice during his first six seasons (in 1989 and 1990).

In the 1991 off-season, the Knicks hired Pat Riley as head coach. In contrast to the fast-paced style of Showtime he used with the Los Angeles Lakers, Riley decided to go for a more deliberate and physical approach in New York. Aided by the likes of Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, John Starks and Charles Smith, Ewing and the Knicks rose to prominence under Riley, and in 1994, they won 57 games to finish second in the Eastern Conference.

Their playoff run began with a 3–1 victory over their cross-river rival New Jersey Nets. However, they had a hard time disposing a Chicago Bulls team that lost Michael Jordan to retirement, but managed to win all four home games to advance. In the conference finals, they were pitted against the upstart Indiana Pacers, who were led by Reggie Miller. Though the Pacers gave the Knicks a scare, the latter's experience proved too much as they won the series in seven games.

Road to the Finals

Houston Rockets (Western Conference champion) New York Knicks (Eastern Conference champion)
# Western Conference
1 z-Seattle SuperSonics 63 19 .768
2 y-Houston Rockets 58 24 .707 5
3 x-Phoenix Suns 56 26 .683 7
4 x-San Antonio Spurs 55 27 .671 8
5 x-Utah Jazz 53 29 .646 10
6 x-Golden State Warriors 50 32 .610 13
7 x-Portland Trail Blazers 47 35 .573 16
8 x-Denver Nuggets 42 40 .512 21
9 Los Angeles Lakers 33 49 .402 30
10 Sacramento Kings 28 54 .341 35
11 Los Angeles Clippers 27 55 .329 36
12 Minnesota Timberwolves 20 62 .244 43
13 Dallas Mavericks 13 69 .159 50

2nd seed in the West, 2nd best league record

Regular season
# Eastern Conference
1 c-Atlanta Hawks 57 25 .695
2 y-New York Knicks 57 25 .695
3 x-Chicago Bulls 55 27 .671 2
4 x-Orlando Magic 50 32 .610 7
5 x-Indiana Pacers 47 35 .573 10
6 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 47 35 .573 10
7 x-New Jersey Nets 45 37 .549 12
8 x-Miami Heat 42 40 .512 15
9 Charlotte Hornets 41 41 .500 16
10 Boston Celtics 32 50 .390 25
11 Philadelphia 76ers 25 57 .305 32
12 Washington Bullets 24 58 .293 33
13t Milwaukee Bucks 20 62 .244 37
13t Detroit Pistons 20 62 .244 37
2nd seed in the East, 4th best league record
Defeated the (7) Portland Trail Blazers, 3–1 First round Defeated the (7) New Jersey Nets, 3–1
Defeated the (3) Phoenix Suns, 4–3 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (3) Chicago Bulls, 4–3
Defeated the (4) Utah Jazz, 4–1 Conference Finals Defeated the (5) Indiana Pacers, 4–3

Regular season series

The Houston Rockets won both games in the regular season series:

December 2, 1993
Houston Rockets 94, New York Knicks 85
Madison Square Garden, New York City
February 24, 1994
New York Knicks 73, Houston Rockets 93

1994 NBA Finals rosters

Houston Rockets

1994 Houston Rockets Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. DOB From
PG 1 Brooks, Scott 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 165 lb (75 kg) 1965–07–31 UC Irvine
PF 50 Bullard, Matt 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1967–06–05 Iowa
PG 10 Cassell, Sam 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1969–11–18 Florida State
PF 35 Cureton, Earl 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1957–11–03 Detroit
SF 17 Elie, Mario 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1963–11–26 American International
PF 7 Herrera, Carl 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1966–12–14 Houston
PF 25 Horry, Robert 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1970–08–25 Alabama
SF 21 Jent, Chris 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1970–01–11 Ohio State
SG 11 Maxwell, Vernon 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1965–09–12 Florida
C 34 Olajuwon, Hakeem 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 255 lb (116 kg) 1963–01–21 Houston
C 3 Petruška, Richard 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 260 lb (118 kg) 1969–01–25 UCLA
C 42 Riley, Eric 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1970–06–02 Michigan
SG 20 Robinson, Larry 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1968–01–11 Centenary College of Louisiana
PG 30 Smith, Kenny 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1965–03–08 North Carolina
PF 33 Thorpe, Otis 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1962–08–05 Providence
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

New York Knicks

1994 New York Knicks Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. DOB From
PG 50 Anthony, Greg 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 176 lb (80 kg) 1967–11–15 UNLV
SG 20 Blackman, Rolando 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1959–02–26 Kansas State
SF 4 Bonner, Anthony 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1968–06–08 Saint Louis
SG 44 Davis, Hubert 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 183 lb (83 kg) 1970–05–17 North Carolina
C 33 Ewing, Patrick 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1962–08–05 Georgetown
SG 7 Gaines, Corey 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1965–06–01 Loyola Marymount
PG 11 Harper, Derek 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1961–10–13 Illinois
PF 14 Mason, Anthony 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 250 lb (113 kg) 1966–12–14 Tennessee State
PF 34 Oakley, Charles 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1963–12–18 Virginia Union
SF 54 Smith, Charles 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1965–07–16 Pittsburgh
SG 3 Starks, John 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1965–08–10 Oklahoma State
C 32 Williams, Herb 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 242 lb (110 kg) 1958–02–16 Ohio State
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Series summary

Game Date Away Team Result Home Team
Game 1 Wednesday, June 8 New York Knicks 78–85 (0–1) Houston Rockets
Game 2 Friday, June 10 New York Knicks 91–83 (1–1) Houston Rockets
Game 3 Sunday, June 12 Houston Rockets 93–89 (2–1) New York Knicks
Game 4 Wednesday, June 15 Houston Rockets 82–91 (2–2) New York Knicks
Game 5 Friday, June 17 Houston Rockets 84–91 (2–3) New York Knicks
Game 6 Sunday, June 19 New York Knicks 84–86 (3–3) Houston Rockets
Game 7 Wednesday, June 22 New York Knicks 84–90 (3–4) Houston Rockets

Game 1

June 8
New York Knicks 78, Houston Rockets 85
Scoring by quarter: 24–26, 22–28, 17–18, 15–13
Pts: Patrick Ewing 23
Rebs: Charles Oakley 14
Asts: Derek Harper 5
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 28
Rebs: Otis Thorpe 16
Asts: Kenny Smith 5
Houston leads the series, 1–0
The Summit, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,611
  • No. 17 Joe Crawford
  • No. 14 Jack Madden
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta

Game 2

June 10
New York Knicks 91, Houston Rockets 83
Scoring by quarter: 24–20, 18–22, 30–23, 19–18
Pts: John Starks 19
Rebs: Patrick Ewing 13
Asts: John Starks 9
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 25
Rebs: Otis Thorpe 12
Asts: Kenny Smith 6
Series tied, 1–1
The Summit, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,611
  • No. 10 Darell Garretson
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins

Game 3

June 12
Houston Rockets 93, New York Knicks 89
Scoring by quarter: 26–18, 19–20, 24–25, 24–26
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 21
Rebs: Hakeem Olajuwon 11
Asts: Hakeem Olajuwon 7
Pts: Derek Harper 21
Rebs: Patrick Ewing 13
Asts: John Starks 9
Houston leads the series, 2–1
Madison Square Garden, New York City
Attendance: 19,763
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 21 Bill Oakes

Game 4

June 15
Houston Rockets 82, New York Knicks 91
Scoring by quarter: 14–19, 19–21, 28–20, 21–31
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 32
Rebs: Otis Thorpe 10
Asts: Sam Cassell 5
Pts: Derek Harper 21
Rebs: Charles Oakley 20
Asts: Derek Harper 5
Series tied, 2–2
Madison Square Garden, New York City
Attendance: 19,763
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 17 Joe Crawford
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis

Game 5

June 17
Houston Rockets 84, New York Knicks 91
Scoring by quarter: 21–22, 16–26, 24–13, 23–30
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 27
Rebs: Otis Thorpe 13
Asts: Robert Horry 6
Pts: Patrick Ewing 25
Rebs: Patrick Ewing 12
Asts: Derek Harper 7
New York leads the series, 3–2
Madison Square Garden, New York City
Attendance: 19,763
  • No. 10 Darell Garretson
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta

Game 6

June 19
New York Knicks 84, Houston Rockets 86
Scoring by quarter: 21–21, 15–25, 26–19, 22–21
Pts: John Starks 27
Rebs: Patrick Ewing 15
Asts: Derek Harper 10
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 30
Rebs: Olajuwon, Thorpe 10 each
Asts: Otis Thorpe 6
Series tied, 3–3
The Summit, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,611
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 14 Jack Madden

Game 7

June 22
New York Knicks 84, Houston Rockets 90
Scoring by quarter: 21–22, 22–23, 17–18, 24–27
Pts: Derek Harper 23
Rebs: Charles Oakley 14
Asts: Derek Harper 5
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 25
Rebs: Hakeem Olajuwon 10
Asts: Hakeem Olajuwon 7
Houston wins the series, 4–3
The Summit, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,611
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 17 Joe Crawford
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush

Olajuwon vs. Ewing

Although most fans in New York, and some members of the national media, blamed John Starks' poor performance, who shot 2-for-18 from the field in Game 7, as a contributing factor in the Knicks' loss in the series, another important factor in the Rockets series win was Olajuwon's performance. Olajuwon outscored Ewing in every game of the series, while Ewing outblocked (4.3 to 3.9 bpg) and outrebounded him (12.4 rpg to 9.1 rpg). Ewing set a then NBA Finals record with a total of 30 blocks.[4]

1994 NBA Finals Gm 1 Gm 2 Gm 3 Gm 4 Gm 5 Gm 6 Gm 7 Totals
Hakeem Olajuwon 28 25 21 32 27 30 25 26.9 ppg 50.0% fg 9.1 rpg 3.6 apg 3.9 bpg
Patrick Ewing 23 16 18 16 25 17 17 18.9 ppg 36.4% fg 12.4 rpg 1.7 apg 4.3 bpg

Player statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Houston Rockets
Matt Bullard 2 0 13.5 .200 .286 .500 3.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 4.0
Sam Cassell 7 0 22.6 .422 .438 .926 3.1 2.9 1.3 0.3 10.0
Earl Cureton 1 0 2.0 .000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Mario Elie 7 0 11.3 .250 .400 .833 1.0 1.0 0.3 0.1 2.4
Carl Herrera 7 0 17.3 .579 .000 .750 3.6 0.4 0.4 0.1 7.1
Robert Horry 7 7 37.9 .324 .306 .619 6.1 3.7 1.3 0.6 10.3
Chris Jent 3 0 2.3 .000 .000 .000 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Vernon Maxwell 7 7 37.7 .365 .225 .682 3.3 2.9 0.6 0.0 13.4
Hakeem Olajuwon 7 7 43.1 .500 1.000 .860 9.1 3.6 1.6 3.9 26.9
Kenny Smith 7 7 25.4 .389 .357 1.000 1.4 3.1 0.7 0.0 5.6
Otis Thorpe 7 7 39.6 .519 .000 .500 11.3 3.3 0.9 0.0 9.3
New York Knicks
Greg Anthony 7 0 11.4 .323 .125 1.000 0.9 2.4 0.4 0.1 3.3
Anthony Bonner 2 0 5.5 1.000 .000 .000 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.0
Hubert Davis 5 0 7.6 .200 1.000 .500 0.4 0.4 0.0 0.2 1.6
Patrick Ewing 7 7 44.0 .363 .200 .714 12.4 1.7 1.3 4.3 18.9
Derek Harper 7 7 38.0 .467 .436 .824 3.0 6.0 2.4 0.1 16.4
Anthony Mason 7 0 29.3 .468 .000 .640 6.9 1.3 0.7 0.0 8.6
Charles Oakley 7 7 40.7 .484 .000 .833 11.9 2.4 1.1 0.1 11.0
Charles Smith 7 7 26.7 .441 .000 .684 4.3 1.7 0.6 1.0 9.3
John Starks 7 7 41.9 .368 .320 .769 3.1 5.9 1.6 0.1 17.7
Herb Williams 4 0 1.8 .000 .000 .000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0

New York Rangers win Stanley Cup

Game 4 took place at Madison Square Garden less than 24 hours after it hosted the New York Rangers' first Stanley Cup celebration in 54 years, following their 3–2 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Rangers Captain Mark Messier attended the game,[7] bringing the Stanley Cup in a bid to inspire the Knicks, first to their locker room before the game, and again out onto center court at halftime, much to the delight of fans.[8] During NBC's broadcast of Game 4, Marv Albert, who himself handled the radio call of the Rangers' win, and Matt Guokas mentioned the Rangers' win and that the Knicks were happy that their arena was "the scene of one of the glorious moments in the history of New York sports."[7]

Game 5 took place hours after the ticker-tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan honoring the new Stanley Cup champions.[9] Players and representatives of both the Knicks and the Rockets were among the 1.5 million who attended.[10][11]

Both teams came away motivated, as evidenced by the remaining series.[11][12]

Telecast interrupted by O. J. Simpson car chase

During Game 5, most NBC affiliates split the coverage of the game between NFL Hall of Famer O. J. Simpson's slow speed freeway chase with the LAPD. At the time, Simpson had been an NFL analyst on NBC.

The coverage was presented on a split screen, with the game taking up the smaller portion of the television screen on the left, while live coverage of the chase was shown in a bigger screen on the right. The audio came from the chase as narrated by NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.[13]

KNBC in Los Angeles, serving the media market where the police were tracking Simpson, left game coverage completely for the chase and did not even put up a split screen until the end of the game, which was still close at the time. By this point, Simpson had returned to his mansion in Brentwood and had surrendered to police.

A complete re-broadcast of Game 5, with natural crowd audio substituting for the parts for which NBC did not provide audio, is part of the DVD release of this series from Warner Home Video.


The Rockets would repeat as NBA champions in 1995 although their season record wasn't so promising. Plagued by a lack of chemistry, the Rockets were stuck in the middle of the conference standings most of the year. Then, as the NBA's trading deadline approached, on February 14, 1995, the Rockets acquired Hakeem Olajuwon's "Phi Slama Jama" teammate Clyde Drexler. The Rockets finished the regular season as the 6th seed but the team on the court at season's end was clearly better than its 47–35 record. The new Rockets team had only had about two months to gel. The playoffs started rough for Houston, the team down 2 games to 1 to Utah in the First Round. However, the Rockets battled back and won that series, stealing the deciding Game 5 in Utah. The Rockets' ability to overcome adversity became more evident as the postseason wore on. They beat four 50-win squads (Utah, Phoenix, San Antonio and Orlando) to win the NBA championship, becoming the lowest seed ever to win it all.

Also in 1995, the Knicks enjoyed another strong season, with 55 wins. However, they were eliminated in seven games by the Indiana Pacers during the second round as Pacers guard Reggie Miller's 'Knick Killer' legacy continued. After the season Pat Riley departed for the Miami Heat, with whom he would win three championships. The Knicks would make the finals again in 1999, but fell to the Spurs in five games, and have not returned since.

Before this victory, only the Houston Oilers' AFL two championships at the close of the 1960 season and 1961 season and the Houston Aeros' two WHA Avco World Trophies in 1974 and 1975 represented Houston's only professional championships. The 1994 NBA Championship represented the city of Houston's first professional championship since those two teams, and the first in a league that did not later merge.

This was the last NBA Finals for three of the league's longest-tenured and most recognizable referees: Darell Garretson, Jack Madden and Jake O'Donnell. Garretson and Madden retired following the 1994 Finals, while O'Donnell worked the 1994-95 season, but did not work past the second round of the playoffs. He retired in December 1995 following the end of a lockout of NBA referees by Commissioner David Stern.

See also


  1. ^ Araton, Harvey (June 23, 1994). "ON PRO BASKETBALL: N.B.A. FINALS; Long-Sought Title That Ewing Needed Eludes Him Again". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2008. But he (Ewing) was just not as good as Hakeem Olajuwon, never has been.
  2. ^ Kalb, Elliot (2003). Who's Better, Who's Best in Basketball?: Mr. Stats Sets the Record Straight on the Top 50 NBA Players of All Time. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 163. ISBN 0-07-141788-5. Olajuwon clearly outplayed Ewing
  3. ^ "Daily Dime: Special Edition The game's greatest giants ever". ESPN. March 6, 2007. Archived from the original on March 25, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007. He (Olajuwon) outplayed Ewing, Robinson and O'Neal to lead Houston to back-to-back titles...
  4. ^ a b "History of the NBA Finals: Hakeem Olajuwon: The NBA's Best In The Mid '90s". hollywoodsportsbook.com. Retrieved February 16, 2007.
  5. ^ "Patrick Ewing Bio". NBA. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Beck, Howard (June 17, 2008). "Celtics Remain Mindful Of a Missed Opportunity". The New York Times. p. D2. Retrieved June 20, 2010.
  7. ^ a b NBA on NBC: Game 4 of the 1994 NBA Finals (television). NBC. June 15, 1994.
  8. ^ Zipay, Steve (June 14, 2009). "'94, a vintage year for Rangers, Knicks; Rangers ended 54-year Stanley Cup drought". Newsday. p. A78. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
  9. ^ MacMullan, Jackie (June 18, 1994). "Knicks pull away, close in on crown". The Boston Globe. p. 33. Capping a day when their fellow New Yorkers celebrated the Rangers' Stanley Cup with a parade, the Knicks were always there, keeping pace.
  10. ^ Barron, James (June 18, 1994). "New Yorkers Bury the Rangers' Curse in a Sea of Confetti". The New York Times. p. 28. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  11. ^ a b Blinebury, Fran (June 13, 2004). "BELIEVE IT: 10 YEARS LATER; 'The Times of Our Lives'". The Houston Chronicle. p. 1.
  12. ^ Hahn, Alan (June 14, 2009). "After huge effort, Knicks fall short". Newsday. p. A79. Retrieved September 7, 2009.
  13. ^ Brett Morgen, Director (June 16, 2010). 30 for 30: June 17, 1994 (television). ESPN.
1993–94 Houston Rockets season

The 1993–94 NBA season was the Houston Rockets' 27th season in the National Basketball Association, and their 23rd season in Houston. During the offseason, the Rockets acquired Mario Elie from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Rockets went off to a great start, winning their first fifteen games to tie the 1948–49 Washington Capitols for the best unbeaten record to open a season, before the Golden State Warriors surpassed it in 2015. After losing to the Atlanta Hawks on December 3, the Rockets won the next seven games as well, falling just one victory shy of tying the 1969–70 Knicks (23–1) for the best record with one defeat in NBA history. However, the Rockets would cool off as the season progressed, at one point losing four games in a row. Still, they finished first place in the Midwest Division with a 58–24 record, a franchise record that stood until the 2017-18 team recorded their 59th win.

Hakeem Olajuwon won the league's Most Valuable Player award, ahead of David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs and Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls. Anchoring one of the league's best defenses, Olajuwon also won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award for the second consecutive year, also beating out Robinson by a narrow 23 to 22 votes. He was also selected for the 1994 NBA All-Star Game.

In the playoffs, the Rockets defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 3–1 in the first round, then defeated the Phoenix Suns 4–3 in the semifinals, and the 5th-seeded Utah Jazz 4–1 in the Western Conference Finals. In the 1994 NBA Finals, they defeated the New York Knicks in seven games, and won their first championship in franchise history. It was the Rockets' third NBA finals appearance, after 1981 and 1986. Olajuwon was the only player of the 1985–86 Rockets to still be on the 1993–94 team. The Rockets also became the first team from the Midwest Division since the Milwaukee Bucks 23 years prior to win the NBA title.

1993–94 New York Knicks season

The 1993–94 NBA season was the 48th season for the Knicks in the National Basketball Association in New York City. This marked the last season in which the Knicks (and all other MSG properties) were owned by Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), which was sold near the end of the season to Viacom, which in turn sold them to ITT Corporation and Cablevision. A couple of years later, ITT would sell their share to Cablevision. The Knicks' current owner, The Madison Square Garden Company, is a spin-off of Cablevision.

During the offseason, the Knicks signed free agent Anthony Bonner. The team got off to a fast start winning their first seven games. However, they would lose Doc Rivers for the remainder of the season to a knee injury after just 19 games. At midseason, the Knicks traded Tony Campbell to the Dallas Mavericks for Derek Harper to fill in the void left by Rivers. Despite the injuries, the Knicks had another successful season posting a 15-game winning streak late in the season, including a 14–0 record in March finishing first place in the Atlantic Division with a 57–25 record. The Knicks earned the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Three members of the team, Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Charles Oakley were all selected for the 1994 NBA All-Star Game.

In the first round of the playoffs, the Knicks defeated the New Jersey Nets in four games. In the semifinals, they faced the Chicago Bulls for the fourth straight year. Michael Jordan had retired prior to the season to pursue a baseball career, and the team was now led by Scottie Pippen. The Knicks would defeat the Bulls in a full seven game series to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they then defeated Reggie Miller and the 5th-seeded Indiana Pacers in another full seven game series. The Knicks advanced to the 1994 NBA Finals, but would lose in seven games to the Houston Rockets after taking a 3–2 series lead. In the 1994 Playoffs, the Knicks set the record for most games allowing under 95 and under 100 points in one playoff run. Opponents were held to under 95 and 100 points in 23 and 24 games, respectively. Following the season, Rolando Blackman was released and then retired.

1994 in basketball

The following are the basketball events of the year 1994 throughout the world.

1994–95 New York Knicks season

The 1994–95 NBA season was the 49th season for the New York Knicks in the National Basketball Association. The Knicks entered the seasons as runner-ups of the 1994 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games. During the offseason, the Knicks acquired Doug Christie from the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Christie would play only twelve games because of an ankle injury. Early into the season, the team released Doc Rivers, who later signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs. The Knicks posted a 55–27 record in the Atlantic Division, and finished in second place, two games behind the Orlando Magic. By earning the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks qualified for the NBA Playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. Patrick Ewing was selected for the 1995 NBA All-Star Game. John Starks led the league with 217 three-point field goals, and became the first player ever to reach up to 200 three-pointers in a single season. Power forward Anthony Mason was named Sixth Man of the Year.In the first round of the 1995 NBA Playoffs, the Knicks defeated the 6th-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers three games to one, advancing to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Knicks lost Game 1 of their series to the Indiana Pacers, as Reggie Miller scored eight points in the final 18.7 seconds to bring the Pacers back from a six-point deficit. The Pacers gained a 3–1 series edge, before the Knicks won two straight games to force a seventh game at Madison Square Garden. With the Knicks down by two points in the final seconds, Ewing had a chance to send the game to overtime, but missed his driving layup attempt as the Pacers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Following the season, Pat Riley quit as head coach to take over the coaching job with the Miami Heat, Greg Anthony left in the 1995 NBA Expansion Draft, and Anthony Bonner was released.

1995 NBA Finals

The 1995 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1994–95 National Basketball Association (NBA) season. The series pitted the Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic against the defending NBA champion and Western Conference champion Houston Rockets. The pre-series hype and build-up of the Finals was centered on the meeting of the two centers opposing each other: Shaquille O'Neal of the Magic and Hakeem Olajuwon of the Rockets. Going into the series the matchup was compared to the Bill Russell–Wilt Chamberlain matchup of the 1960s.

The Rockets became the first team in NBA history to beat four 50-win teams in a single postseason en route to the championship. The Rockets would win a playoff-record nine road games in the 1995 playoffs. It was the second NBA Finals sweep in the 2–3–2 Finals format (after the Detroit Pistons did so against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1989). The Rockets also became the first repeat NBA Champion in history to keep the title with a sweep. In addition, the Rockets became the first team in NBA history to win the title without having home-court advantage in any of the four playoff rounds since the playoffs was expanded to a 16 team format in 1984. Coincidentally, this feat would also be achieved by the New Jersey Devils that same year, when they won the Stanley Cup over the Detroit Red Wings.

The Orlando Magic (making their first ever NBA Finals appearance) began the 1995 NBA Finals at home, hosting the defending champion Houston Rockets. With the Magic up 110–107 late in Game 1, Nick Anderson missed four consecutive free throws in the closing seconds of the game, and Kenny Smith hit a three-pointer, tying the game and sending it to overtime as well as setting a new record with the most three-pointers in an NBA Finals game with seven. The more experienced Rockets went on to win in overtime and eventually swept the Magic, winning their second consecutive NBA Championship. In achieving this, they earned the distinction of being the only team to win both championships during Michael Jordan's first retirement (although Jordan did return in the closing months of the 1994–95 season), as well as the only one outside Chicago to win multiple championships in the 1990s.

The season-ending documentary Double Clutch by Hal Douglas, was released by NBA Entertainment to coincide with the Rockets' championship season.

1995–96 Detroit Pistons season

The 1995–96 NBA season was the Pistons' 48th season in the National Basketball Association, and 39th season in the city of Detroit. During the offseason, the Pistons hired Doug Collins as head coach while acquiring Otis Thorpe from the Portland Trail Blazers. Thorpe won a championship as a member of the Houston Rockets in the 1994 NBA Finals. Under Collins, the Pistons who were now led by second-year star Grant Hill and Allan Houston, played .500 basketball in the first half of the season, as the team signed free agent Michael Curry along the way. However, Joe Dumars' production would slip as he averaged just 11.8 points per game. The Pistons reemerged as a playoff contender finishing fifth in the Central Division with a 46–36 record, and returned to the playoffs after a three-year absence thanks to the stellar play of Hill, who was selected for the 1996 NBA All-Star Game.

However, in the first round of the playoffs, they would be swept by the Orlando Magic in three straight games. Following the season, Houston signed as a free agent with the New York Knicks.

2009 NBA Finals

The 2009 NBA Finals was the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s championship series for the 2008–09 season. The best-of-seven playoff was contested between the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers (who were also the defending Western Conference champions), and the Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic. The Lakers defeated the Magic, four games to one, to win the franchise's 15th NBA championship. The 63rd edition of the championship series was played between June 4 and June 14 and was broadcast on U.S. television on ABC.

The Lakers earned their berth into the playoffs by winning the Pacific Division. The Magic won the Southeast Division to earn their berth. The Lakers reached the NBA Finals by defeating the Utah Jazz in the best-of-seven Western Conference First Round, the Houston Rockets in the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals, and the Denver Nuggets in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals. The Magic reached the NBA Finals by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference First Round, the defending champion Boston Celtics in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the league best Cleveland Cavaliers in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals. The NBA Finals were staged under a 2–3–2 rotation, with the Lakers holding home-court advantage as they had a better regular season record than the Magic.

Kobe Bryant led the team to a Game 1 win with 40 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Game 2 was a high-scoring affair that the Lakers ultimately won on both strong defensive play and last minute heroics by Bryant, Derek Fisher, and Pau Gasol during the overtime. A record-breaking performance from the Magic's 65% team shooting ensured the team a Game 3 win and the first Finals victory in franchise history. Although they trailed the Magic as much as 12 at halftime, the Lakers won Game 4 in overtime on the back of Trevor Ariza's 13 points in the second half and Fisher's pair of three-point clutch shots. Dominant offensive play coupled with a spectacular defense by both starters and reserves from the second quarter until the buzzer helped the Lakers to win Game 5 and secure the series. Bryant was named Most Valuable Player of the Finals.

Rodd Houston narrated the Lakers' 2009 season through the Lakers 2009 championship home video on NBA Entertainment. As with previous championship videos, two versions exist: the DVD version recaps the entire 2009 Lakers' season, from the regular season and playoffs to the finals; the TV version recaps only the Lakers' playoff run.

This series was nicknamed the "Disney Series" for its connections to The Walt Disney Company. Disney owns Finals broadcaster ABC; Walt Disney World is located twenty miles from Orlando in nearby Lake Buena Vista, and Disneyland is located thirty miles from Los Angeles in nearby Anaheim.

Al Cowlings

Allen Cedric "A.C." Cowlings (born June 16, 1947) is a former American football player and actor. He played in the National Football League (NFL) from 1970 to 1979 for the Buffalo Bills, Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and San Francisco 49ers. Cowlings was taken fifth overall in the first round by the Buffalo Bills in the 1970 NFL Draft.Cowlings is most famous for his role in aiding his close friend O. J. Simpson to flee from the police on June 17, 1994, after Simpson's second wife whom Simpson was divorced from and a friend of his ex-wife was found murdered. After a low-speed chase by police on Los Angeles freeways in connection with the homicide of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, Cowlings drove the former athlete back to his home, where he was arrested.

Bulls–Knicks rivalry

The Bulls–Knicks rivalry is a rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The two basketball teams have played each other every year since the Bulls first joined the NBA in 1966. However, the rivalry began to grow in intensity during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when both teams became huge playoff contenders. This was due to a variety of factors: the great frequency in which the teams competed against each other in high-stakes contests and playoff series; well-known players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and John Starks; the reputations of the team's respective cities; and personnel changes and conflicts between the teams. The two teams met in the playoffs seven times between 1981 and 1996, with the Bulls winning six of those series.

Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets are an American professional basketball team based in Houston, Texas. The Rockets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division. The team plays its home games at the Toyota Center, located in downtown Houston. The Rockets have won two NBA championships and four Western Conference titles. The team was established in 1967 as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team originally based in San Diego. In 1971, the Rockets moved to Houston.

The Rockets won only 15 games in their debut season as a franchise in 1967. In the 1968 NBA draft, the Rockets were awarded the first overall pick and selected power forward Elvin Hayes, who would lead the team to its first playoff appearance in his rookie season. The Rockets did not finish a season with a winning record for almost a decade until the 1976–77 season, when they traded for All-Star center Moses Malone. Malone went on to win the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award twice while playing with the Rockets and led Houston to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year with the team. During the 1980–81 season, the Rockets finished the regular season with a 40–42 record. Despite their losing record, they qualified for the playoffs. Led by Malone, the Rockets stunned the entire league by making their first NBA Finals appearance in 1981, becoming only the second team in NBA history to make the NBA Finals with a losing record. They would lose in six games to the 62–20 Boston Celtics, led by Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and future Rockets' head coach Kevin McHale. As of 2019, the 1980–81 Rockets are the last team since the 1954–55 Minneapolis Lakers to make it all the way to the NBA Finals with a losing record.

In the 1984 NBA draft, once again with the first overall pick, the Rockets drafted center Hakeem Olajuwon, who would become the cornerstone of the most successful period in franchise history. Paired with 7 feet 4 inches (2.24 m) Ralph Sampson, they formed one of the tallest front courts in the NBA. Nicknamed the "Twin Towers", they led the team to the 1986 NBA Finals—the second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—where Houston was again defeated by Larry Bird and the 67-win Boston Celtics. The Rockets continued to reach the playoffs throughout the 1980s, but failed to advance past the first round for several years following a second round defeat to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987. Rudy Tomjanovich took over as head coach midway through the 1991–92 season, ushering in the most successful period in franchise history. Led by Olajuwon, the Rockets dominated the 1993–94 season, setting a franchise record 58 wins and went to the 1994 NBA Finals—the third NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—and won the franchise's first championship against Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. During the following season, reinforced by another All-Star, Clyde Drexler, the Rockets—in their fourth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history—repeated as champions with a four-game sweep of the Orlando Magic, who were led by a young Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway. Houston, which finished the season with a 47–35 record and was seeded sixth in the Western Conference during the 1995 playoffs, became the lowest-seeded team in NBA history to win the title.

The Rockets acquired all-star forward Charles Barkley in 1996, but the presence of three of the NBA's 50 greatest players of all-time (Olajuwon, Drexler, and Barkley) was not enough to propel Houston past the Western Conference Finals. Each one of the aging trio had left the team by 2001. The Rockets of the early 2000s, led by superstars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, followed the trend of consistent regular season respectability followed by playoff underachievement as both players struggled with injuries. After Yao's early retirement in 2011, the Rockets entered a period of rebuilding, completely dismantling and retooling their roster. The acquisition of franchise player James Harden in 2012 has launched the Rockets back into championship contention in the mid-2010s.

Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, and James Harden have been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player while playing for the Rockets, for a total of four MVP awards. The Rockets, under general manager Daryl Morey, are notable for popularizing the use of advanced statistical analytics (similar to sabermetrics in baseball) in player acquisitions and style of play.

June 17th, 1994

June 17th, 1994 is a documentary film by Brett Morgen released as part of ESPN's 30 for 30 series. The documentary details the events of June 17, 1994, in which several noteworthy sporting events occurred during the police chase of O. J. Simpson. Morgen says the diversity of the events provides an opportunity "to look at the soul of America".The documentary features no narration and also no interviews and consists simply of music set to clips from news sources during the day.There are rare clips of sportscasters like Chris Berman and Bob Costas talking to their producers about how to deal with the O.J. story within the context of the events they were covering.Robert Lloyd wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "Morgen juxtaposes the events of that day in a kind of associative round robin, finding points of contrast and commonality, of similar action and visual consonance, on which to turn his film. But he offers no other, more remote perspective; this is not a summing up of events, but rather a meditation, of an elemental sort, not just on sports but on the way of the world."

Live Phish Volume 10

Live Phish Vol. 10 was recorded live at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio on June 22, 1994.

It features the band on their 1994 summer tour. The group plays an experimental version of "Mike's Song," interpolating an early version of the Mike Gordon staple "Simple" and a jam based on the bass line and melody of The Allman Brothers Band's "Midnight Rider," as well as a version of the rarely-played "Icculus."

Bonus tracks include two songs from the Murat Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 24, 1994.

Before the second set begins with "2001", Trey Anastasio informs the audience of the current score of Game 7 of the 1994 NBA Finals ("First quarter, Houston by 5"). The game is also mentioned during the Icculus narration ("Even if you're playing in the NBA finals, and you're winning by 5 points, [...] you'd damn well better read the book!"), and once more at the very end of the show ("After the third quarter: the Knicks 60, Houston 63!").

NBA Live (video game series)

NBA Live is a series of basketball video games published by EA Sports. The series, which has had releases annually from 1994 to 2009 and 2013 to the present, is the successor to EA's previous NBA Playoffs and NBA Showdown series. Live primarily competes with the NBA 2K series and formerly NBA ShootOut.

NBA Live 95

NBA Live 95 is the sequel to NBA Showdown (video game), and the first "NBA Live" title in the NBA Live video games series from EA Sports. The cover featured an action shot from the 1994 NBA Finals. The game was published by EA Sports and released in October 1994.

It introduced many elements that would become standard in the series, including the isometric on-court perspective, the "T-meter" for shooting free throws and the turbo button used to give players a temporary burst of speed. The game was re-released with NBA Live 06 as part of the EA Retro Series. Game Players gave the Super NES version of this video game its "best sports game award" in their Super NES division on the January 1995 issue of their magazine.The game was the first Official NBA simulation to introduce the ability to create customized fictional teams and create copies of existing players, as well as a Create-a-Player function for users to make themselves in the game. It is also notable for being the first NBA video game to not feature Charles Barkley, as he began holding out on signing a licensing agreement due to the lack of pay to retired players from the NBAPA.NBA Live 95 was followed by NBA Live 96.

NBA on television in the 1990s

As the national broadcaster of the NBA, CBS aired NBA games from the 1973-74 until the 1989–90 season, during which the early 1980s is notoriously known as the tape delay playoff era.

NBC then succeeded the broadcast rights from 1990 to 2002. During NBC's partnership with the NBA in the 1990s, the league rose to unprecedented popularity, with ratings surpassing the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the mid 1980s. Upon expiration of the contract in 2002, the league signed an agreement with ABC, which began airing games in the 2002-03 season. NBC had made a four-year $1.3 billion ($330 million/year) bid in the spring of 2002 to renew its NBA rights, but the league instead went to ESPN and ABC with a six-year deal worth $2.4 billion ($400 million/year), a total of $4.6 billion ($766 million/year) when adding the cable deal with Turner Sports.

Ray Castoldi

Ray Castoldi has been the organist at Madison Square Garden since 1989. During the summer, when the New York Rangers and New York Knicks are spending their offseasons, Castoldi was heard at the organ at New York Mets games at Citi Field until 2014 (and previously Shea Stadium). Because of this, he is the only person to play for the Mets, Rangers and Knicks in the same season. (Similarly Gladys Gooding had played organ for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Knicks and Rangers in the same year; likewise Eddie Layton

and Jack Shaindlin played for the New York Yankees, Knicks and Rangers in the same season.)

Castoldi has played the organ at the 1994 NBA Finals, 1994 Stanley Cup Finals, 1994 NHL All-Star Game, 1998 NBA All-Star Game, and the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals all of which were played at Madison Square Garden. He also played during the 2000 World Series, played at Shea Stadium, and the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field. He was also a music director for the ice hockey competition at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. He has also played for many other events such as several Pro Bowls, several NHL All-Star Games, and several Winter Olympic Hockey games.

Castoldi has contributed to the Jock Jams and Jock Rock series of albums, as well as Hallmark Cards.

Castoldi also wrote Slapshot, the song that is played after the Rangers score a goal at Madison Square Garden.

Rolando Blackman

Rolando Antonio Blackman (born February 26, 1959) is a retired Panamanian-born American professional basketball player. He was a four-time All-Star who spent most of his career with the Dallas Mavericks.

Blackman was born in Panama City, Panama, and raised in Brooklyn, New York, from the age of eight.

The Eyes of Texas

"The Eyes of Texas" is the school spirit song of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at El Paso. It is set to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the University sing the song at Longhorn sports games, before the fireworks and other events.

Vernon Maxwell

Vernon Maxwell (born September 12, 1965) is an American retired professional basketball player who was a shooting guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for thirteen seasons during the late 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. Maxwell played college basketball for the University of Florida, and led the Florida Gators to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. He was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 1988 NBA Draft and was immediately traded to the San Antonio Spurs. His longest and most successful NBA tenure was with the Houston Rockets. The nickname "Mad Max" was bestowed upon Maxwell by color commentators for his clutch three-point shooting, which reached its pinnacle in the deciding game of the 1994 NBA Finals between Houston and New York. Maxwell is among just nine players in NBA history to amass 30 points in a single quarter, accomplishing that feat en route to a 51-point outing on January 26, 1991, against Cleveland.

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