The 30 Most Influential NCAA MBB Groups of SLAM’s 30 Years: ‘99 St. John’s

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The 30 Most Influential NCAA MBB Groups of SLAM’s 30 Years: ‘99 St. John’s
The 30 Most Influential NCAA MBB Groups of SLAM’s 30 Years: ‘99 St. John’s


To rejoice SLAM’s thirtieth anniversary, we’re spotlighting the 30 most influential males’s school groups from our previous 30 years. Stats, information and chips aren’t the principle issue right here, it’s all about their contribution to the sport’s cultural cloth.

For the subsequent 30 days—Monday via Friday— we’ll be unveiling the full list here. We’ve additionally bought an unique retro collegiate assortment, out now, that pays homage to every squad’s threads. Shop here.


Again in ‘99, St. John wasn’t only a college; they represented the true essence of New York Metropolis. Their males’s basketball staff was no exception: with a hustler’s spirit, a chip on their shoulder, and newly sponsored hearth engine crimson Jordan Model uniforms, they lifted this system into a brand new period. The Crimson Storm might have entered the season unranked, however by March, all the school ecosystem was echoing the vibrations of Queens. 

Head coach Mike Jarvis understood what he was coping with in his squad: gamers like Queensbridge native Metta Sandiford-Artest – recognized again then as Ron Artest – grew up residing on New York Metropolis black tops. Toughness and perspective weren’t ever a query. As an alternative, he capitalized on that depth and fueled their native delight so that each time his gamers took the court docket, they performed to signify themselves and town. With a 28-9 common season report, they captivated audiences all over the place they went. Artest’s will to win was off the charts, like when he made positive to nail that three towards Duke to push the sport into OT as a result of he knew he’d sink it. Then there was freshman sensation Erick Barkley, who dazzled crowds with no-look passes and highlight-reel dunks. Bootsy Thornton didn’t simply dominate on the defensive finish; he may rating underneath any circumstances. The 2-time All-Massive East choice was good for almost 15 factors a sport, however the DMV native really shined underneath the highlight. The No. 2 ranked Duke Blue Devils had been on the receiving finish of 1 such efficiency, the place Thorton exploded for a 40-piece. Bolstered by Tyrone Grant’s put up presence and Lavor Postell’s sharp capturing from deep, the Storm’s 5 double-digit scorers may mild it up in transition and half-court. 

The Crimson Storm weren’t afraid to bully their means via the Massive East whereas rocking these dishevelled but smooth bright-red uniforms. Any time they stepped on the ground, they weren’t content material with simply profitable; they needed to entertain, to depart spectators in awe of their expertise and dominance. St. John’s destroyed the Maryland Terrapins 76-62 as a result of they weren’t glad with simply profitable; they needed to present their dominance over their opponents. Barkley’s 24-piece was proof sufficient. Every sport was a spectacle, a showcase of the staff’s expertise. 

The Massive East championship sport went all the way down to the wire towards UConn, and regardless of the 82-63 loss, that was only the start of their postseason run. St. John’s dominated the NCAA match via the Elite Eight, profitable every sport by a median of 25 factors.

And even now, many years later, the legacy of the ‘99 St. John’s males’s basketball staff lives on. They continue to be a logo of hope and inspiration, a reminder that something is feasible with onerous work, dedication, and a never-say-die perspective. They weren’t only a staff; they had been a phenomenon, a shining instance of what could be achieved when expertise, dedication, and coronary heart come collectively in good concord. Their affect prolonged far past the confines of the basketball court docket. With the Massive East working via Mecca in 98-99, the Crimson Storm returned to the Backyard 25 years later to a standing ovation from the New York devoted. Their legacy is cemented and enshrined within the metropolis’s historic reference to the sport. 


Pictures by way of Getty Photographs.





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