June 17, 1994 was one of the most eventful days in sports history.
The New York Rangers celebrated their Stanley Cup win with a ticker-tape parade down broadway. The men’s World Cup kicked off in Chicago for the first time on US soil. Ken Griffy Jr. tied Babe Ruth’s record of most home runs (24) before June 30. Arnold Palmer shot an 81 in his final round at the U.S. Open. The Knicks and Rockets played Game 5 of the NBA finals.
And O.J. Simpson drove a white Bronco with a gun to his head while being chased by the LAPD.
I was not alive that day. So I asked my colleagues at Deadspin to share their memories of June 17, 1994.
Here’s what they had to say:
I’M IN THE OLD PEOPLE MESSAGE!
I’m younger than Dustin
(Author’s note: no.)
I’m actually an embryo
(Author’s note: uhhh.)
Wait, the [NY Rangers] parade was that day? I went to the parade.
And that was the last time the Rangers mattered. Fin.
I was sitting in my friend’s apartment in college, watching either the NBA or the World Cup before we hit the bars. We might have been flipping. I remember calling my younger brother back home after the LA County DA announced that OJ had missed his agreed upon time to turn himself in. My brother breathlessly told me “they said ‘OJ Simpson is now a fugitive from justice!’” At some point, the Bronco chase came on. I remember Al Cowlings talking to the police, and (oddly enough), ABC News throwing to Barbara Walters so she could tell us OJ was going to be in the cell next to one of the Mendendez Brothers - which was a bizarre detail, but the entire thing was completely surreal. As the Bronco chase went on, and we learned OJ had a gun, we were all pretty convinced we were going to watch OJ Simpson kill himself live on TV, which was horrifying.
Eventually, OJ made it to his house or his mom’s house or something (I remember him just wanting to see his mom). You couldn’t really see what was going on because of the angle of the helicopter shot and the tall trees around the driveway. Then ABC thought they had someone on the phone who could see into the driveway, so they put him on the air, and it turned out to be Howard Stern fan jerking them around. The entire scene was just very “this is what America has been reduced to.” It could have been in Idiocracy.
I was 10. We were at my uncle’s house in Atlanta on summer vacation. We were all watching the game before we were headed out to dinner.
But then, it all got sidetracked.
The Juice was loose.
I remember the people on the sides of the street. I think some even had signs on the overpasses.
I remember my uncle talking about how all these white police officers were following a black man.
I remember we all thought Simpson might commit suicide on national TV.
I remember Bob Costas trying to make sense of it all as the TV jumped back and forth between the game and the chase.
Sometimes things happen and you remember where you were and who you were with, and you can play it back in your mind like a movie.
This was one of those moments.
I was at a friend’s house and we were probably flipping between baseball and Knicks and just watched O.J. come on and yes, we were convinced he was going to kill himself on live TV.
I was 13, but my school was done for the year, so I went to the Rangers parade and weaved my way through the crowd to get into a good spot for the City Hall rally. Turned out to be a really good spot, because Dave Checketts walked by on the way to his seat. I gave him a high five.
That night, I was mostly annoyed by the OJ chase interrupting the Knicks game. I knew it was a big deal, and there was a possibility he might kill himself, but dammit the Knicks were playing and OJ was on every other channel!
I had been suspended from the last week of 7th grade for not cutting my hair (true story), and in that time a friend of mine moved in on my first ever girlfriend. That night or around there was when she came up with the story that her parents wouldn’t let me see her anymore because I had been suspended, so I watched the whole OJ chase thinking if he blew out his brains on national TV it would match my world-is-ending mood. All I wanted to do was go listen to In Utero on repeat. Which is pretty much true today.
If you remember these events you’re now old, obviously. But it’s all good. One day I’ll be with these folks answering questions from interns about sports writing at a time with no sports.