Sports

Here Are The Final Four Most Memorable ’90s Sports Moments

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The NCAA Tournament is upon us, and we’ve got ​bracket fever!

This week, we’re looking back on the 1990s, a decade in which everyone had the same set of enduring sports memories, before the Internet splintered our culture into an endless series of insular communities. If you lived through these moments, you remember them well.

The field is now down to the final four, with all of the top seeds making it this far; you can see the second round voting here. Over the next couple days, vote for which ones stand out the most in your mind to establish our championship matchup.

(Illustrations by Dave Rappoccio; Words by Matt Rothstein)

FOOTBALL/BASKETBALL REGION

No. 1 O.J. Simpson’s Bronco Chase (1994)
Last round: Beat Michael Jordan’s Finals dagger

It was only a “sports” moment in that it involved a former athlete, but you could also argue that it turned rubbernecking into a national pastime. It was surreal, unbelievable and a more universally shared moment than anything in the Internet age — which makes it possibly the most quintessentially ’90s moment there is.

No. 2 Christian Laettner’s Game-Winning Shot (1992)
Last round: Beat Scott Norwood’s wide right kick

Outside of Durham, Laettner’s not exactly a well-loved figure, even decades later. However, unlike his sore-thumb appearance on the Dream Team, no one can argue that his perfect game in the 1992 National Championship, capped by an all-time great buzzer-beater, earned him legend status.


THE OTHER SPORTS REGION

No. 1 Mike Tyson Bites Off Evander Holyfield’s Ear (1997)
Last round: Beat Brandi Chastain’s World Cup winner

Tyson entered the ’90s on top of the boxing world, but after spending three years in prison for rape and losing his title to Holyfield, he was desperate to grab onto what once was — even if it was Holyfield’s ear, and he was grabbing with his mouth. This was one of the biggest Did you see that?! moments of the decade.

No. 2 Nancy Kerrigan Assaulted (1994)
Last Round: Beat Cal Ripken breaking consecutive games streak

It was a story straight out of a telenovela, with the jealous Tonya Harding precipitating the downfall of the ascendant Nancy Kerrigan. The fact that it was a horrific assault with the aftermath caught on camera made it all the more insane, and the drama that unfolded titillated the nation.

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