L.A.'s greatest sports moments: No. 20, Kobe to Shaq alley-oop
We asked you to send in your picks for the 10 greatest sports moments in L.A. history, and 1,181 ballots later, we are ready to unveil the top 20 vote-getters. Each weekday (with one day off for Thanksgiving), we will unveil a new moment until we reach No. 1.
In its first year of existence, Staples Center developed a reputation as being one of the quietest arenas in the NBA. The cavernous building lacked the intimacy of the Forum and, despite the Lakers’ 67-win season, the crowd noise seemed to die in the three levels of luxury suites.
That all changed on June 4, 2000, with 41.9 seconds left in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers when Shaquille O’Neal jumped high in the air and threw down a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass from Kobe Bryant.
As O’Neal raced toward the Lakers’ bench and into the arms of joyous teammates, Staples Center erupted. No corporate suite was going to contain the delirious crowd.
The dunk finished off a 25-4 run by the Lakers, who had trailed, 75-60, before pulling off the biggest fourth-quarter rally in a Game 7 in NBA history. They went on to win, 89-84, and advance to the Finals, where they beat the Indiana Pacers in six games for their first title since 1988.
-- Hans Tesselaar
Photo: Shaq reacts after slamming home two points following an alley-oop pass from Kobe Bryant during Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals. Credit: Los Angeles Times.