COMING TUESDAY: 'Forgotten Finals' -- Remembered for wrong reasons
As we prepare for our first NBA Finals rematch in 16 years, we have two generational teams looking to add to their legacies.
The Spurs are looking for their fifth championship of the Tim Duncan era and already have accomplished something they've never done before during their run of excellence by advancing to consecutive Finals.
The Heat, in their fourth straight trip, are trying to become only the third team since Bill Russell's Celtics of the 1960s to win three consecutive titles. The Lakers of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal did it in the early 2000s, and Michael Jordan's Bulls did it twice in the 1990s.
What about what happened in between those two Chicago three-peats? That's what CBSSports.com delves Tuesday with the "Forgotten Finals." It's a long-form story and video documentary on the 1994 Finals between the Knicks and Rockets -- an epic matchup of Hall of Fame centers Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon that was overshadowed by Jordan's absence, the O.J. Simpson case and more.
The series itself wasn't all that became obscured in history. The Rockets also got lost between Jordan's three straight titles on either side of Houston's back-to-back championships in 1994 and '95.
Fairly or unfairly, Houston's back-to-back championship teams haven't gotten their due. In '94, Jordan was playing baseball in the Southern League. As the series reached its apex in Game 5, the nation turned its eyes to the O.J. chase.
Jordan was back in '95, but Olajuwon and the Rockets didn't get a chance to play them in the Finals. Jordan's Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic of O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, who were swept by the Rockets.
"There's nothing we can do about other people's opinions and takes on certain things," former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said Saturday on CBS Sports Radio. "All I know is, we had to go through Ewing, who was a championship-type player. We had to go through Charles [Barkley] and KJ [Kevin Johnson] twice. We had to go through [Karl] Malone and [John] Stockton twice. And then we had to beat San Antonio, who had a great year. I feel very proud of what we did."
As he should.
Among the things you'll learn in the "Forgotten Finals" is how badly the Rockets wanted to play the Bulls in '95; whether Tomjanovich was convinced getting Clyde Drexler that season was the right move; and how protective Olajuwon is of his back-to-back titles.
Should those Rockets teams be viewed in the same light as other back-to-back champions? Should we have been paying more attention instead of getting distracted by the White Bronco chase?
Find out when the "Forgotten Finals" launches on Tuesday.