Van Gundy Holds On
Now that it’s in the past we can all laugh about it. Diminutive Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy looked like a child as he clung to the leg of Heat center, the 6-foot-10 Alzono Mourning in the middle of a brawl during the 1998 Eastern Conference playoffs. The Knicks and Heat had a boiling rivalry and when tensions overflowed between former teammates Mourning and Larry Johnson, the two sides came to blows. Van Gundy jumped in and attempted to break up the fight, only to be knocked to the ground where he proceeded to hang onto Mourning’s leg for dear life as the scuffle continued.
Oddly, had Van Gundy succeeded in breaking up the fight it may have cost his team the playoff series. Both LJ and Zo were suspended for Game 5 of the series, and without Mourning the Knicks jumped all over the Heat early. Miami closed the gap, but Van Gundy and the Knicks held on to win the first-round series and send the second-seeded Heat home.