I’m sure we all remember (or are aware of) that scene from Miss Congeniality when Miss Rhode Island was asked to describe her “perfect date.”
Her answer is a cinema classic as she responded with “that’s a tough one, I’d have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket.”
April 25th is normally right in the midst of the NBA Playoffs but we’ll cut the contestant some slack for not mentioning that. Fortunately, when it comes to the NBA, there is a clear-cut favorite for a “perfect date.”
It is May 7th. Why you might ask?
Let’s begin in 1972.
The Los Angeles Lakers were taking on the New York Knickerbockers, up 3 games to 1 in the NBA Finals. At that point, the Lakers had a total of five NBA Championships, all when the team was located in Minneapolis – hence the real reason why they’re called the “Lakers” (because of the lakes in the Minneapolis area, duh!).
Image above: The 1971-72 NBA Champions – the Los Angeles Lakers
That’s right the New York Knicks had more titles than the Lakers at that point in history. Well on May 7, 1972, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich brought La La Land its first professional basketball championship. It was the 1972 Lakers who still hold the record for most consecutive wins in the regular season at 33 games.
It gets better. Let’s fast forward to 1989.
Michael. Jordan. Is there such a thing as a perfect NBA Day without those two words?
His Airness was beginning his climb into basketball immortality and on May 7, 1989, MJ stuck it from the foul line over Craig Ehlo with “The Shot” which moved the Bulls over the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.
Move ahead 5 years to May 7, 1994.
Remember David and Goliath?
The Denver Nuggets pulled off the NBA’s equivalent by becoming the first 8-seed to take down a 1-seed as they won a decisive Game 5 IN SEATTLE. The Nuggets’ victory provided fans with one of the most memorable images in NBA history.
What makes Denver’s accomplishment even more impressive is that they trailed 2-0 and won three straight against a Sonics team that accounted for 63 wins during the regular season.
The same Nuggets team also fell behind 3-0 against the Utah Jazz in the second round and won three straight again to force a Game 7. The miracle well ran dry there as the duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone eliminated one of the peskiest teams in NBA Playoff history.
One year later, it became Miller time.
We already went over how the world’s most famous player made history on this day and now we have to talk about how history was made in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Down 6 with under 20 seconds to go, Reggie Miller hit a three. Then as Greg Anthony and Anthony Mason botched the ensuing inbound pass, Miller stole the ball and drained another three to tie the game.
And he wasn’t done. After an inadvertent foul on John Starks, Miller got the rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws effortlessly. Just like that, in a proverbial New York minute, Reggie had taken his team from down 6 to up 2. Eight points, nine seconds. Game 1 to the Pacers.
Finally, let’s move ahead to 2002.
World’s best player? Check.
World’s most famous arena? Check.
How about the world’s most famous press conference?
We talkin’ about practice.
Allen Iverson went on his epic rant about at practice, that’s right, on May 7, 2002, in the middle of the playoffs. Many NBA fans fail to realise this iconic moment took place in the midst of the postseason right after the Sixers were eliminated by Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics. The context behind the soundbite centered around Iverson’s future. In the end, this moment became a cultural phenom that resonates with a number of audiences almost two decades later.
On This Date: In 2002, Allen Iverson talked about practice. pic.twitter.com/O2J1UF2BC0
– ESPN (@espn) May 7, 2019
There you have it. If there was a “Calendar Hall of Fame”, May 7th would be on everyone’s first ballot. Well maybe everyone except the Knicks. Even on May 7th, they saw Reggie Miller steal a game on their home court and lost an NBA Finals. I guess some things don’t change, no matter what date it is.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.