June 17 Marks the Anniversary of the Wildest Day in Sports History: TRAINA THOUGHTS

Author:
Updated:
Original:

1. If it's June 17, we have to remember one of the wildest days in sports history, capped off by the greatest prank phone call in TV history.

June 17, 1994—26 years ago today—Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Rockets and Knicks was interrupted by the O.J. Simpson Bronco chase. I've already written that one of the sports networks should've aired this game, unedited, during this period without live sports, but no luck so far.

Earlier that day, the New York Rangers had their Stanley Cup parade, the U.S. Open took place and the World Cup kicked off.

But that night all hell broke loose when NBC had to cut into an NBA Finals game to show Al Cowlings driving O.J. Simpson around the Los Angeles area in a white Ford Bronco.

Later in the evening, on ABC, Al Michaels gave us the greatest performance of his career. 

I've written about this prank call a million times over the years, but it's just so damn good it needs to be recognized every year on this date.

You have Peter Jennings, who at the time was thought of as one of the great broadcasters in TV, completely not listening to one word the prank caller was saying. Jennings didn't even react after the caller dropped a "AND BABA BOOEY TO YOU ALL." Peter just kept rolling along until Al Michaels had to let everyone know it was not a real call.

And even though Al spoke for only a few seconds, he gave us the best use of "lest" in TV history AND the best use of "farcical" in TV history. In addition, Al, who was a big Howard Stern fan, didn't want to say the caller was from the Howard Stern Show, so he used that memorable line about the prankster saying something, "in code at the end that's indicative of the mentioning of the name of a certain radio talk-show host." 

Just a wonderfully beautiful train wreck from start to finish.

Happy anniversary.

If you've never seen the "June 17th 1994" 30 for 30, I can't recommend it enough. It's a tremendously fun watch.

2. A brand-new episode of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast dropped this morning, and it features two interviews. 

First up is New York Post sports media reporter Andrew Marchand to discuss several recent sports media stories, including MLB's signing a new contract with Turner Sports for big money, the future of Trey Wingo at ESPN, how NFL broadcasts will handle kneeling this season, Drew Brees's status with NBC and much more. 

Following Marchand, L.A. Times sports columnist Arash Markazi joins the podcast to talk about Las Vegas's reopening. Markazi was there for a week and tells us what the casinos, tables, pools and sportsbooks were like in the age of COVID-19.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

3. Enjoy that bubble, NBA players.

The bit about the hotline is fascinating. Like, if you're playing the Lakers that night, why not just report LeBron for violating the rules in hopes of getting him suspended for the game?

4. Not only was ESPN's latest 30 for 30, "Long Gone Summer," bad, but it also drew a bad rating.

5. This tweet says it all, so enjoy.

6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Seinfeld once spoofed the infamous O.J. Bronco chase, but that's not what I'm going to post. That scene came in the "Big Salad" episode, which had some of the best Elaine-George interaction ever.

7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Never, ever, ever, ever forget that Al Michaels once acknowledged a point spread/bad beat at the end of a preseason game.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram