The most amazing play I ever saw

Photo courtesy of Baseline Leaner

With training camp closing in, thought it might be appropriate to remember what former CBA coach Charley Rosen called "the most amazing play I ever saw."  Yes this isn't a Chicago Bulls blog, but I'm hoping the story isn't forgotten over the years.

Matt Brust was a tough-minded guard at St John's.  I saw him practice and play and he went hard all the time.  He was undrafted and a longshot to make the Bulls in 1989.  But he refused to go out without a fight.

As Rosen recalls Brust had just knocked Michael Jordan to the floor on what was a sure dunk.  What ensued was wild:

On the very next sequence Jordan pilfered a careless pass and was once again headed hoopward-and there was Brust, chasing the ball and intent on a command performance.

The first hint of trouble was when Jordan slowed down somewhat to allow Brust to catch him. Then, as before, Jordan elevated to the basket, palming the ball in his right hand. This time, just as Brust launched another audacious attack on Jordan's august person, MJ made a preemptive strike, smashing his left elbow into the rookie's forehead. Then, while still levitated, Jordan switched the ball to his left hand, reached around to the far side of the rim, and shivered the entire gym with a thunderous dunk.

For Jordan, score two points and a KO.

For Brust, a mild concussion and an early retirement.

Matt, today
Matt, maybe taking the high road, never thought it was intentional:

``I knocked heads with someone earlier in practice, then I got the elbow from Michael to the cheekbone. It wasn`t like he purposely did it,`` said Brust. ``It`s just something that happens.``

Brust's older brother Chris, was a teammate of MJ's at UNC when they won it all in 1982.  Whistling Phil called Brust "a tiger. He learned to play on the streets of New York and he's got an incredible intensity level."  Some thought the similarities with Jackson, who was a defensive specialist during his playing career, might allow Brust to make the team.

``My hero was John Havlicek,`` said Brust, 22. ``He didn`t play dirty, just hard. And his stress was on winning as a team.

If I ever had the opportunity to interview Jordan, and I mean really interview him (not the fluff questions Ahmad Rashad's given him in the past) two I'd absolutely ask would be his feelings on Len Bias (he's rarely spoken about him, though was acknowledged with delivering flowers to the Bias family upon Len's death) and the Brust incident.

Matt wouldn't make the team.  Jordan would go onto a spectacular career.  You can find Matt on Linkedin here.

What will happen during this year's training camp?