Game 5 between Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon took place at the same time O.J. Simpson was being chased by police.
With Michael Jordan having finally retired from the game of basketball for the first time prior to the 1994 NBA season, the New York Knicks were now the team to beat out East. As expected, they won the East that year and faced off against a Finals-tested Houston Rockets squad led by former no. 1 overall pick, Hakeem Olajuwon.
The first 4 games of the ‘94 Finals were stellar pin-pong matches as the Rockets won Game 1 and the Knicks proceeded to win Game 2. This repeated the next two games, setting up a crucial Game 5 at Madison Square Garden.
However, as the NBA’s two best bigs in Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon duked it out on the hardwood, a car chase that rocked the nation ensued simultaneously. Despite this Game 5 being as important as it was, it seemed as though viewers were more interested to see what would come of O.J. Simpson and his white Bronco along the 405.
A split-screen of the chase and Game 5 was displayed.
It felt as though the United States were at standstill during the initial moments of the Brown/Goldman killings. O.J. Simpson was the prime suspect and he eventually led the police on a car chase in his infamous white Bronco for 2 hours between around 6pm and 8pm.
These timings however, were clashing with the most important game of the NBA season- Game 5 of the NBA Finals. In a bizarre turn of events, a split-screen was employed between the Hakeem Olajuwon –Patrick Ewing battle on the hardwood and the chase across the freeways.
According to Jeff Van Gundy, and this is hearsay, the reason as to why Simpson did not go full throttle was because he wanted to listen in on the Knicks-Rockets game on the radio and follow along. JVG was an assistant to Pat Riley at the time and he claimed to have spoken to the man who was sitting next to him in the white Bronco.
The Knicks would end up winning that bout but would lose the next two games to eventually get Olajuwon his first championship ring.