On this date 30 years ago, I wasn’t even born yet. But that doesn’t mean I’m oblivious to what happened when Keith “F&%#NG” Smart hit “The Shot.”
(NSFW video ahead)
As many of you know, Syracuse was up by one with one possession to go for Indiana. Derrick Coleman had just missed a free throw, keeping the lead to just one point. SU just had to hold on and the Orangemen would’ve won their first NCAA National Championship -- the latest achievement for the then-fledgling Big East Conference.
As the clock wound down, Indiana edged closer and closer to the basket, before getting it to Keith Smart. His open two-pointer going through the net with under five seconds to go, the clock ran out shortly thereafter.
“The Shot” has forever dubbed him Keith “F&%#ING” Smart for Orange(men) fans — and it created many of the complexes we still suffer from as a group today. Even when successful, we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Always wondering when Keith “F&%#ING” Smart is going to come out of nowhere and dash our hopes. It almost happened in New Orleans once again back in 2003, if you recall -- if not for a Hakim Warrick block, of course.
If you’re a Syracuse fan, you hate Smart, Indiana and maybe Bobby Knight too. The Orange upsetting IU en route to the 2013 Final Four was fun, but without a title to finish it off, the payback never really came.
When Smart was coaching the (then terrible) Golden State Warriors from 2010-11, I was sitting in an empty Oracle Arena in Oakland, booing the shit out of him. The same goes for when he returned to Oracle as coach of the Sacramento Kings. I was the only person doing so. That didn’t matter. It was my duty, as a Syracuse fan.
This post isn’t meant to bring up old wounds, but to talk about how we’ve dealt with them since. Whether you witnessed this atrocity in real-time, or (like me) inherited the hatred for Smart later in life, how have you handled this awful day in the 30 years that have followed?