by Harry Cummins
Last Christmas, high school senior Keldon Johnson led his Oak Hill Warriors to their 7th Les Schwab Invitational title and was crowned MVP of the holiday extravaganza in Portland,Oregon.
Christmas came a little earlier this year for Keldon and his new Kentucky Wildcats teammates, when the heralded freshmen hit a miraculous half court shot with no time on the clock to tie their game with Seton Hall Saturday.
Although the Wildcats went on to loose in OT on a late basket by the Pirates , the circumstances of Johnson's heroics revived a treasured memory in basketball lore.
April 29, 1970. Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The Lakers were down by 2 points to the Knicks. With the clock expiring, Jerry West released a 60 foot rainbow, carried on the wings of 17,500 prayers. Splashdown! Keldon, say hello to the original Mr Clutch.
The Lakers, like Kentucky today, went on to loose the game in overtime. Many say it was the greatest NBA game ever played. Elgin Baylor had a triple-double. Wilt Chamberlain had 26 rebounds. Willis Reed had 38 points, Walt Frazier lit up the stat sheet with 19 pts,11 rebounds and 7 assists. And 'Zeke from Cabin Creek'-he had 34 points. His miracle heave came in the days before the 3-pointer, or the Lakers would have won that night in regulation. The Knicks went on to win the Finals when Reed limped out of the locker room for Game 7 and into basketball history.
It was Game 3 and 'The Shot' that everyone in the Fabulous Forum that night, including yours truly, will never forget.