19 years….think about that, 19 years…more than half my life has passed since January 19th, 1993. That day was a dark day in Iowa sports history. Chris Street, the hardnosed give it all forward of the Hawkeyes basketball team was killed in a car accident involving a snow plow after a team meal at the Highlander.
I remember that night clear as day. The news came on (yes there was a time you HAD to watch the news to get news – no twitter or facebook or texting) and lead with the Chris Street death news. My parents and I were in stunned silence and didn’t move the whole news cast but just to look at each other’s faces in dismay. The news ran a little longer that night too with the story as expected. After the KWWL news we flipped over to ESPN Sports Center and it was on there.
That night there was an ice storm, we got out early of school and the whole day till we got out we talked about the Hawks and Chris.
I remember my parents donated to the Chris Street Foundation, and then there were the games that followed. If it’s not the most famous 2 game stretch in Iowa history I don’t know what is. Iowa played at Michigan State the first game afterwards, looked terrible for most of the game and were down big. It was 13 pts with around 3 to play and shots just seemed to fall and ball started bouncing the Hawks way. They got it to OT and ended up winning. Next up was I believe a #1 or #2 Michigan Fab Five team. The Hawks played another game like no other and upset the Wolverines in Carver in front of Chris’s family. The game ball went to Chris’s dad and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Later that year vs. Indiana and Bobby Knight they retired Chris’s #40.
I remember Iowa State and Johnny Orr after wards had a player each year wear #40 in honor of Chris.
Chris was one of my favorite Iowa players in the way he played and well he was a Hawk! But he just had the persona and hustle a player should show.
What is weird now after 19 years is I still remember those days and games of his death, but my world has shrunk and I now know Chris’s younger sister.