KNICKS N' LACERATIONS - A Day Derek Harper Has Never Forgotten -- May 13, 1984
Derek Harper as we all know was the great New York Knickerbocker who had to body slam Chicago Bulls' human shield Jo Jo English and got himself ejected during Game 3 of the 1994 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals match-up between Jordanless Chicago and mighty New York. Well ten years before to the DATE of this incident, Derek Harper first became a household name with a moment in Dallas that all but defined infamy, even more for himself then anybody who watched.
The Mavericks were the only team in the West that could have taken the Lakers during the 1980s. Utah was young, Portland stunk, Phoenix stunk, it was all about the Dallas Mavericks and their core consisting of Roy Tarpley, Mark Aguirre, Sam Perkins and point guard Derek Harper. In 1984, the Mavericks faced Los Angeles in Round 2. The series was 2-1 L.A. with Game 4 in Dallas. It happened on national television.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar misses a sky hook and Perkins gets the ball into Harper. The Dallas fans at Reunion Arena is going nuts, because the game was tied and the Lakers failed to take the lead. Now their home team had a chance to win it and tie the series. It would be 2-2 in no time. Yes sir...all they had to do was have Derek Harper call time out, pass the ball or take a shot.
He dribbles downcourt. The fans are going wild. It's down to 9 seconds. He appears to be.looking for Tarpley, so Magic Johnson backs off him a bit. It's down to 4 seconds. Harper's not even...looking for anybody? Just dribbling? Everyone in the arena is like what the hell are you doing?
Down to 2 seconds...Harper can't believe that Magic is just standing there with his arms up in the air, not trying to foul him or anything. (oh Harper).
Down to 1 second...and Harper jubilantly bounces the ball on the court and turns around with his arms up in the air. Yet there's a problem. Reunion Arena is NOT celebrating. He's the only one with his arms up in the air. In fact everyone's rather tart with him. His coach is on the sideline just deflated, looking like "I'm gonna get fired. oh man i'm finished."
Derek Harper thought they were leading the game by a point. The game was tied and we were going to overtime. THAT's why Magic wasn't trying to foul him! That's why everyone was so mad at him! But it didn't end there.
The Lakers won in overtime to go up 3-1. The Mavericks would be eliminated in Los Angeles two days later.
And now Derek Harper's glory days. For this man redeemed himself and collected the biggest fan base in sports. For you see, unlike every other team in New York, there's only one basketball team. There's only one Knicks. That means that a Knicks championship would be appreciated by the ENTIRETY of New York. That means that the best Knick has the biggest fan base of any non-soccer player on Earth. That means Derek Harper was the man.
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