Most sports fans in the state of Iowa remember the date January 19, 1993, the tremendously sad day when basketball star Chris Street was killed in a car accident. It was a tragic event that stunned the entire state.
Street was a fan-favorite, especially with young kids that played basketball like myself.
In the games that followed his death, the Hawkeyes traveled to take on the Michigan State Spartans, and then were home against the ‘Fab Five’-led Michigan Wolverines. These are two games that I will never forget.
Iowa rallied from 18 down with three minutes to go to force overtime against the Spartans, and went on to defeat Michigan State in an absolute thriller. Then-assistant coach Tom Izzo swears there was a sixth man on the court that night (see video below).
Then the following Saturday, Michigan came to town. Street’s family was courtside in one of the most emotional games I’ve ever witnessed. The Hawkeyes were in control the entire contest, and defeated the Fab Five in convincing fashion.
Of course, none of this could replace the loss of Street. He was just one of those players. A junior at the time of his death, Street was no doubt headed for the NBA. While he probably wasn’t destined to be an All-Star, he would have had a very long and successful career as a pro.
Street could do it all. He was a 6’8″ power forward that could play in the post, pass it, and even make three-pointers. In his final game, he set an Iowa record with 34-straight free throws made.
Former Iowa coach Tom Davis summed up Street with this quote:
“Chris represented all that is good about the Midwest and the state of Iowa. He was open, caring, honest, loving and lived life to the fullest every day.”
Street was a son of the state of Iowa. Hawkeye fan or not, his tragic passing made an entire state stand still. 20 years later, his death is just as sad as the day it happened back in 1993. All we can do is keep his memory alive, and the Hawkeyes will do just that Saturday night. You can bet that Carver Hawkeye Arena will be filled with passion and emotion as Iowa pays tribute to No. 40 – Christopher Michael Street.