Mutombo's Tears of Joy
No 8-seed had ever beaten a 1-seed in the NBA playoff history when the 42-win Nuggets took on the 63-win Sonics in 1994, and no one expected that to change, especially after the Sonics got off to a 2-0 series lead. But Denver battled back and forced a decisive Game 5 in Seattle.
Still the Sonics were a loaded team that was 39-4 at home entering the game and the Nuggets were young and inexperienced. But the Nuggets, led by the defense of center Dikembe Mutombo, stayed with the Sonics in regulation before pulling off the stunning upset in overtime. Mutombo grabbed his 15th rebound as the buzzer sounded and he collapsed to the ground, cried and clutched the ball above his head.
The Nuggets proceeded to lose to the Jazz in seven games in the second round, but the image of Mutombo’s pure joy would last forever.