If you think Allan Houston is still reminded in New York of his shot heard ’round the basketball world 18 years ago, well, that’s only the half of it.
“I’ve been all over the world and people have reminded me of that shot,” said Houston, 45, who says he’s been approached in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Uganda.
Houston’s 16-footer over Dan Majerle rimmed home with 0.8 seconds remaining for a 78-77 win on May 16, 1999, in Miami. It eliminated the Heat in five games in that first-round playoff series against the Knicks’ bitter rivals.
Asked how that affects his nine-season Knicks legacy, Houston said, “Having longevity in the playoffs. Even though we didn’t get a chance to ultimately win the prize (losing to the Spurs in a five-game NBA Finals), being a part of an era that people were happy to be a part of in New York.”
Both Houston, the general manager of the Westchester Knicks, and Larry Johnson appeared at Legends Night, recently hosted by the D-League team.
The five-year, often injury plagued Knicks tenure of Johnson also is defined by one ’99 shot. On June 6 at Madison Square Garden, Johnson’s 3-pointer over the Pacers’ Antonio Davis, who fouled him, became a four-point play with 5.7 seconds left during a 92-91 victory. The Knicks led 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals and went on to win in six games.
An apparent potential L result became an “L” celebration featuring Johnson’s patented arm symbol.
“When I go to the Garden it’s blasted, and blasted and blasted,” said Johnson, 47. “Then when you’re walking down the street, because it is New York you get it a lot.
“That means a lot, because it’ll always be remembered, once a Knick, always a Knick. And it was done in the playoffs, it was done against an arch rival. It was a perfect situation for me, man. It was at the end of the game to win the game.”
Whose shot was bigger? Houston says Johnson’s.
“I think because of the energy of the moment at the Garden it made it more special,” Houston said. “It was almost like the floor kind of just lifted off the ground.”
“Allan’s shot won the game,” Johnson said, meaning the Knicks still needed Mark Jackson’s miss to beat Indiana. “Youngsters, everybody dreams about hitting that shot.
“He’s going to say mine, I say his.”