Sports

An oral history of hunting white Bronco and other things


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On June 17, 1994, OJ Simpson directed the Los Angeles police in the infamous “White Bronco Chase”. Image: Getty

June 17, 1994 was one of the most eventful days in the history of sport.

The New York Rangers celebrated their Stanley Cup victory with a parade on tape on Broadway. The Men’s World Cup kicked off in Chicago for the first time on American soil. Ken Griffy Jr. tied Babe Ruth’s record on most circuits (24) before June 30. Arnold Palmer scored an 81 in his last round at the US Open. The Knicks and the Rockets played the fifth game in the NBA Finals.

And O.J. Simpson drove a white Bronco with a pistol over his head while being chased by the LAPD.

I was not alive that day. So I asked my colleagues at Deadspin to share their memories of June 17, 1994.

Here’s what they had to say:

Julie DiCaro

I AM IN THE MESSAGE OF OLD PEOPLE!

Chris Baud

I am younger than Dustin

((Author’s note: no.)

Sam Fels

I’m actually an embryo

((Author’s note: uhhh.)

Jesse Spector

Wait, the [NY Rangers] was the parade that day? I went to the parade.

Sam Fels

And it was the last time the Rangers counted. Fin.

Julie DiCaro

I was sitting in my friend’s university apartment watching the NBA or the World Cup before hitting the bars. We could have returned. I remember calling my younger brother home after the LA County Attorney General announced that OJ had missed his scheduled time to go. My brother said to me out of breath “they said ‘OJ Simpson is now a fugitive from justice! , the pursuit of Bronco was launched. I remember Al Cowlings talking to the police and (oddly enough) ABC News threw Barbara Walters into telling us that OJ was going to be in the cell next to one of the Mendendez brothers – which was an odd detail, but the whole thing was completely surreal. As Bronco’s chase continued and we learned that OJ had a pistol, we were all pretty confident that we were going to watch OJ Simpson kill himself live on TV, which was awful.

Finally, OJ arrived at his house or at his mom’s house or something (I remember he just wanted to see his mom). You couldn’t really see what was going on because of the angle of the helicopter’s shot and the large trees around the aisle. Then ABC thought there was someone on the phone who could see down the aisle, so they put it on the air, and it turned out that the Howard Stern fan was shaking them. The whole scene was just very “that’s what America was reduced to”. It could have been Idiocracy.

Carron Phillips

I was 10 years old. We were staying with my uncle in Atlanta on a summer vacation. We were all watching the game before going to dinner.

But then everything was diverted.

The juice was loose.

I remember people on the side of the street. I think some of them even had signs on the viaducts.

I remember my uncle recounting how all these white police officers followed a black man.

I remember we all thought that Simpson could kill himself on national television.

I remember that Bob Costas had tried to make sense of it all while television was going back and forth between the match and the pursuit.

Sometimes things happen and you remember where you were and who you were with, and you can read it in your mind like a movie.

It was one of those moments.

Chris Baud

I was at a friend’s house and we were probably shooting between baseball and the Knicks and we just watched O.J. come on and yes, we were convinced he was going to kill himself on live TV.

Jesse Spector

I was 13, but my school was over for the year, so I went to the Rangers Parade and made my way through the crowd to find a good place for the town hall gathering . It turned out to be a very good place, as Dave Checketts passed on the way to his seat. I gave her a high five.

That night, I was mostly annoyed by the pursuit of OJ interrupting the Knicks’ game. I knew it was a big deal, and there was a possibility he would commit suicide, but damn the Knicks were playing and OJ was on all the other channels!

Sam Fels

I had been suspended from the last week of grade 7 for not cutting my hair (true story), and during that time, a friend of mine moved into my very first girlfriend. That or around that night, she said her parents wouldn’t let me see her anymore because I was suspended, so I watched the whole OJ chase thinking that if he blew his brain on national television, that would match my end-of-the-world mood. All I wanted to do was repeat In Utero. Which is pretty much true today.

————

If you remember these events, you are now old, of course. But everything is fine. One day, I will be with these people to answer the trainees’ questions on sports writing at a time without sports.

.


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Author: Usama Younus

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