I can't believe how much time has passed... this was 15 years ago today. May 25, 1997 -- Eddie Johnson's 27-foot bomb at the buzzer in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Utah Jazz, evening the series.
He and Charles Barkley being interviewed immediately after:
This was a great day -- a lifelong friend of mine was in town and we were watching the game in my parents' basement in Boston. It was crazy in our house when he hit that shot.
For those too young to remember, some of us were here at ClutchFans for this -- it was called "Clutch City '97" then. This was the first season of the site (it started in August of 1996) and still is the most thrilling. Adding Charles Barkley to Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler was just an absolute circus. Granted they were at the tail-end of their primes, but those three were bigger than a LeBron-Wade-Bosh pairing -- all three were superstars that had led their teams to NBA Finals before as the chief dog. Superstars weren't afraid of Houston back then.
And when you have outstanding foundation pieces, role players desperately want to join your team to play off of them and get a shot at a ring. Eddie Johnson was a classic example -- he had been traded in February from the Pacers to the Nuggets, who waived him. He chose Houston. At nearly 38 years old, it didn't look like he had much left, but he found new life in Houston (shot 32% from distance with the Pacers but nearly 39% with the Rockets that season) and became a huge fan favorite.
He was despised for years in Utah. What Jason Terry has been to the Rockets the last 8 seasons is what Eddie Johnson had been to Utah throughout his career.
And one last thing -- in the last 15 years, this was the high point... it's been downhill ever since. The Rockets wouldn't win another playoff series for 12 years.
This just gave me goosebumps. I was jumping up and down like a crazy kid that just drank 15 cokes when he hit that 3. Unbelievable how long ago it was and I still remember this like it was a few years ago.
Wow, Clutch you're the man! This was probably one of my favorite times as a Rocket fan. I agree time has flown by. I remember I became a fan of the Rockets when we traded for Barkley and ever since I have followed this team ever year. Various things have changed over the year but there has been one constant: my admiration for the Houston Rockets
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