Mixed emotions tell story of ‘93


As we close the book on one of the most insane years in sports history, this is a time to reflect on the excitement, ecstasy, achievements and grief that encompassed all of 1993.

First and foremost—Michael Jordan’s retirement. For the younger generation it may be the closest comparison to how our parents felt when they heard about the death of John F. Kennedy. We can better understand how people felt at that time, maybe not to the extent of a president’s death, but our understanding of the magnitude of JFK’s passing should be more clear. Everybody, whether or not you are a basketball fan, remembers where they were and what they were doing when the devastating news reached their ears.

Michael will never be forgotten by the game of basketball and the many people he reached out to with his accomplishments on and off the court.

One sad fact is that so many took for granted what he meant to the game. His phenomenal heroics will never again be duplicated by any player in this, or perhaps any generation.

Just to name a few:

‘63 points in a play-off game against the World Champion Boston Celtics.

‘The Shot.

‘The reverse lay-up against the Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals.

‘Six three-point shots in one half in the 1992 Finals against Portland.

‘His career high 69 points against Cleveland.

‘And on, and on …

The memories in all basketball fans will live on forever.

John Paxson fulfilled Jordan and the Bulls’ quest for a third straight NBA championship when he sent in a picture perfect three-pointer as time ran out and the sun set on Phoenix.

In the NBA itself, the league suffered some untimely and tragic deaths over the past year. Michael’s dad was felt closest to home, but Reggie Lewis and Drazen Petrovich will not soon be forgotten by the league, their franchise and most importantly—their families.

Moving past the NBA, but staying with basketball, we come to the biggest mistake of the year. Chris Webber calls a timeout when the Michigan Wolverines had none remaining in the waning seconds of their National Championship game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Dean Smith walks out with his second Championship in 10 years—both on amazing endings.

In baseball, Joe Carter gave Canada its second world championship in as many seasons with the most dramatic ending to a World Series in history. His 379-foot homerun on the Wild Thing’s 2-2 fastball is a scene that Mitch “ex-cub” Williams will not soon forget.

Notre Dame’s storybook victory over No. 1 Florida State in a game that lived up to all the pre-game hype. The Fighting Irish then defended the top spot against Boston College, staged a dramatic 21-point comeback, but the Golden Eagles ended up with the last laugh.

Closer to home, LeShon Johnson sprinted, bulldozed and squeezed past enemy defenses all season en route to a season in which NIU students were fortunate enough to witness. No one that witnessed his 306-yard masterpiece against Iowa will soon forget the feat: that total represents an all-time record for rushing yardage by an individual against any Big Ten school in conference history. Adding to his list of accomplishments, the “Cowboy” was recently named co-Big West Player of the Year along with Chris Vargas of Nevada.

Head coach Pete Waite and his volleyball squad are in the midst of fulfilling the program’s dream of reaching the NCAA tournament. After a 28-5 regular season and a thrilling first round victory against Illinois State, the squad is off to Penn State in hopes of reaching its preseason goal: The Sweet Sixteen.

Other odds and ends include:

Wendell Davis blowing out both knees in Philadelphia earlier in the season courtesy of the psudeo-cement found in Veteran’s Stadium.

Marc Giangreco, Corey McPherrin, Tim Weigel and others taking time out of their busy schedules to give us their predictions of Huskie football games. Too bad they couldn’t find the time to send a camera crew out to show the Chicagoland area the nation’s best runningback.