In honor of Shaquille O'Neal Jersey Retirement Day, we bring you the following…
It's a moment seared into the gray matter of every Lakers fan. The lob from Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O'Neal in Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals, capping off a huge comeback against Mike Dunleavy's Portland Trailblazers, putting a stranglehold on the game, and fueling L.A.'s first trip to the Finals since the end of Showtime. It is probably the most iconic Shaq/Kobe highlight of their time together. (Not a stretch, given that it's among the most iconic NBA highlights of the last 25 years, really. Which explains this.)
Generally speaking, clips of the play come with Bob Costas on the call for NBC. No disrespect to Costas, but his isn't the voice Lakers fans want to hear when re-living that day. Fortunately, Chick Hearn was there, too, calling the game on the radio, and not surprisingly, he owned the moment. (To follow along, go to the six minute mark of the video below.)
“That's all you do. Run the whole 24 and then take your shot… They'll probably foul you before that… Kobe's down the middle, he's in deep, he throws to Shaq, slam dunk! The Lakers lead by six! The Los Angeles Lakers, with 40 seconds left. Portland can put champagne away and get out the bottled water, because that's all they're going to drink on their way home. They're down 85-79. A perfect pass to Shaq from Kobe…”
There's more, including a great comeback from Chick when Stu Lantz points out O'Neal fouled Steve Smith driving to the hoop moments later, and it's all awesome.