Game 3 of the 1999 NBA Eastern Conference Finals.
The Knicks and Pacers were tied at one game a piece, and with 11.9 seconds remaining in the game, the Knicks were down three, 91-88, but had the ball. The tipped inbounds pass from Charlie Ward ended up in the hands of LJ and about six seconds later, LJ hit a four point play, the Garden erupted and the Knicks would go on to win that game by one point and eventually take the series 4-2.
The 6’8 combo forward remembers that moment fondly and the love that he got following that big play! “This is New York, man and everywhere I go here, it’s like I’m a legend,” Johnson told me on today’s episode of Scoop B Radio. “I done took the nickname Larry Legend, I didn’t think I was that old, really. But that’s what cats have been calling me simply because I believe, the four point play; it’s just one play. It’s the greatest play, I’ve had. I’ve had some pretty good moments in this game: winning a championship in college, being the number one, but making a four point play against one of our arch rivals at Madison Square Garden, that was the craziest.”
A native of Dallas, Texas, Johnson believes that his connection to his city runs deep. He spoke reverently about local athletes like Roger Staubach and others being influential to his growth and being the blueprint on how to be a positive athlete. He also shared a time that he met and played a one on one game against NBA Hall of Famer, Calvin Murphy. “He let me win,” said Johnson.
“I was like 14 years old. My mom was there. He was passing by, the shoe store. I don’t know if ya’ll know Payless. He had a big ‘ol sign with it and it said it was Calvin Murphy. And I was taller than him at the time. Of course, I was 14 and Calvin was a guard and I think he let me win.”
For the full interview with Larry Johnson, read here.