The 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball team destroyed our NMSU team; demonstrating why they were widely considered (by most experts), to be the best NCAA university team in history.
Everyone on the floor was an NBA-level player. The most common household names were Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, George Ackles, Anderson Hunt, Greg Anthony, David Butler, Elmore Spencer. UNLV had not lost a home game in 65 games and NMSU was not about to waltz into The Thomas & Mack Centre and tarnish their national record.
The game itself eventually became uninteresting and the final seconds were winding down… The players had stopped playing but the game was still on – most fans were already headed towards the exits.
I was one of the players still on the floor and facing an interesting situation. I had the ball at the top of the three-point line with no defender guarding me. As I peered down the lane toward the basket all I saw was the 6,7″ 240lbs Larry Johnson standing there.
So, I think I did what any reasonable man would do. I dribbled down the lane and dunked it Larry Johnson as the buzzer sounded – that is right – the soon-to-be NBA #1 draft pick Larry Johnson. BAM !!! Major Success!!! and yes, I even hung on the rim to demonstrate my monstrous authority. :- )
Of course, Larry Johnson (gold tooth and all) just watched me smiling. He shook his head and gave me the meddled look that said, ‘maaaan, what the red truck are you doing, this game is over.” But that didn’t matter to me – he was going #1 in the draft and I had life-long bragging rights.
Unbeknownst to him I was dunking for the last fans-in-the-stands – those still mildly interested in the game; those finishing their drink, not fighting for the exits. Also, I was dunking for my coaches, my close friends on our bench and in the stands, and all those that knew Larry Johnson would soon be selected #1 in the NBA draft.
It wasn’t a thunderous dunk, but it got a round of high-fives and tons of laughter back at the hotel.
Larry was never the same.
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