WATCH: Jeff Van Gundy Solves OJ Simpson Mystery
During last night's Game 4 of the NBA Finals, a groundbreaking revelation went down....the NBA is still capable of playing close games, as after three consecutive contests decided by 20+ points, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers played it to the bone in a match decided by 11, in a 108-97 score that did not indicate how close the game really was.
Lost in the unexpected close game special, however, was Jeff Van Gundy (possibly) dropping one of the biggest revelations of the OJ Simpson case.
One of the eternal images of the insanity that was the OJ Simpson case will always be the shots not of Simpson himself, but rather the infamous white Ford Bronco, in which the then-fugitive Simpson was the passenger, slowly trudging down the California highway with several Los Angeles police officers in pursuit.
Unlike action films, where car chases are depicted as raucous high speed demolition derbies, with no regard for speed limits and human life, the Simpson chase was made all the more unusual because of its low speed down the famous California freeways. The speed of the chase has not exactly been a huge talking point of the case, but it's still part of the bizarre mythos that was the Simpson case, which has seen a resurgence in popularity with not just an FX miniseries that ran for 10 episodes from February to April, but an upcoming 30 for 30, an edition of ESPN's renowned documentary series that will be shown in 5 parts , the first coming tonight on ABC.
It was during a promo for the latter broadcast during last night's game that Van Gundy dropped his bombshell.
According to Van Gundy, who was an assistant coach with the New York Knicks at the time, his Knicks were indirectly responsible for Simpson's low speed. The infamous chase interrupted coverage of Van Gundy's Knicks taking on the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals, with many networks reverting to split-screen to cover both events.
Van Gundy relayed the story that the driver of the vehicle, Simpson's friend and former teammate Al Cowlings, later met up with the Knicks' coach at the time, Pat Riley, at a car wash after the commotion about the Simpson trial had died down. It was then and there that Cowlings revealed that Simpson ordered him to drive slow, because he wanted to hear the end of the Finals game, a 91-84 Knicks win, on the radio before pulling into his home to surrender to authorities.
While it's an interesting tidbit, and almost somewhat humorous to hear Van Gundy get so enthused to tell a story he has clearly been sitting on for years, the cringeworthy-ness of the conversation can't be go unnoticed, especially when Van Gundy tries to have us picture the image of Simpson with the gun to his head and begging Cowlings to turn the radio up. So good story from Van Gundy, its authenticity notwithstanding, just not the best execution.
Relive (part of) Simpson's famous chase/quest to hear the end of the Finals game below...
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