June 17, 1994 - 20 Years Later
June 17th, 1994 was a banner day in sports history and in the history of broadcasting.
As described in the liner notes for June 17th, 1994, ESPN's 30for30 documentary film:
The New York Rangers celebrated on Broadway, the FIFA World Cup kicked off in Chicago, Arnold Palmer played his last round at a U.S. Open, Patrick Ewing pursued a long evasive championship in the Garden, and yet all of that was a prelude to O.J. Simpson leading America on a slow speed chase around Los Angeles.
NBA Finals, Game 5 (basketball): The Western Conference's Houston Rockets versus the Eastern Conference's New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The Rockets would go on to win the series, 4 games to 3.
US Open Golf Tournament: This was the last year that Arnold Palmer played the Open. That Friday, June 17, was his last round. Ernie Els went on to win. Interestingly enough, the 1994 television broadcast was the last U.S. Open presented by ABC. NBC would take over the next year. This year's 2014 U.S. Open, won by Martin Kaymer, was the last U.S. Open for NBC. Next year, Fox Sports will take over the broadcast.
Back to 1994:
The New York Rangers celebrated their Stanley Cup (hockey) win over the Vancouver Canucks with a parade down Broadway in New York City. This year, 2014, saw the Rangers return to the Stanley Cup Final where they were defeated 4 games to 1 by the Los Angeles Kings.
The FIFA World Cup (soccer) was starting in Chicago. A full month later, Brazil would beat Italy to win the Cup. In 2014, the competition has just begun. We won't know this year's winner until Sunday, July 13.
But all of it was trumped by O.J. Simpson's slow procession on the freeways of Los Angeles.
ESPN's 30for30 documentary, June 17, 1994, tells the gripping tale of how all these events came together on that fateful day.
If you aren't familiar with the 30for30 series of documentary films from ESPN, and you're even the slightest bit of a sports fan or a fan of recent history, you should take a look. From ESPN's 30for30 website:
The idea behind 30 for 30, was to commemorate ESPN's 30th anniversary, by producing 30 films from some of today's finest directors. Each filmmaker brought their passion and personal point of view to each film, detailing the issues, trends, athletes, teams, rivalries, games and events that transformed the sports landscape from 1979 to 2009.
The original series of 30 films was so popular that ESPN continues to produce new full length and short films.
30for30 Short Films (streaming online)
The Library has a lot of great books and movies about sports. Check these out: