PHOENIX — Across the internet, Thursdays have turned into Throwback Thursdays, where social media users and abusers post old pictures of themselves. ValleyoftheSuns has decided to jump into the Phoenix Suns’ past to remember some of the best, worst and weirdest moments in franchise history.
Date: March 3, 1993
Place: America West Arena, Phoenix
Set-up:: For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we go back to 1993. Following the Phoenix Suns’ trade with the Philadelphia 76ers that swapped Jeff Hornacek for Charles Barkley — among other smaller pieces — the Suns jumped out to a 24-point lead early on. Philadelphia coach Doug Moe started the late Manute Bol in the second half looking for a spark, and the decision led to one of the weirdest nights in NBA history.
Bol’s second half: To help Philadelphia cut the lead to as little as nine points, Bol hit six threes in the second half, which at the time was only one make away from the NBA record for a half.
Hornacek was part of the 76ers team that struggled following the Barkley era. Last week when the 76ers visited Phoenix, Hornacek was asked by longtime NBA reporter Dee Lynam if he remembered playing his former team on that day, which became more well-known for Bol’s outburst rather than Hornacek’s return — or Barkley’s 37 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists.
“I can’t remember what happened yesterday,” Hornacek said. “Was I on that team? Dee, was I on that team? Was I? No … Manute was funny. We would crack up all the time. I thought when he started shooting those threes, it was so goofy people would let him shoot it – but he’d make it in practice. It was a little slingshot from the side.”
“He was there to block shots,” the current Suns coach added. “He’d always laugh because when we’d play against him, he’d say, ‘I’m going to get one of your shots.’ I said, ‘No you’re not, because I’m not going in there, first of all. Secondly, I’m going to get it up quick.’ I remember when I was there, when we were in the weight room, I don’t think he could bench 45 pounds. But when he got his hand on the ball, 95 percent of the time, it didn’t go anywhere. He was strong enough to hold it off. Manute was unique and fun to be around.”
Aftermath: Bol finished with 18 points and three blocks while going 6-for-12 from beyond the arc as the Sixers eventually fell 125-115. It was surprising considering Bol had gone just 2-of-31 from three-point range in the previous two seasons and the 1992-93 year. Bol finished his career as a 21 percent three-point shooter and after that year began to bounce around the league before he retired.
Hornacek finished with 15 points and four assists in the game and the next season was traded to the Utah Jazz.