Arizona Wildcats’ Championship Anniversary: Steve Rivera’s “Eye on the Ball” Features Jason Terry, A.J. Bramlett

On this night 23 years ago, what were you doing?

Where did you watch the game?

Steve Rivera was courtside at Indianapolis covering the 1997 NCAA championship game between Kentucky and Arizona for the Tucson Citizen.

A.J. Bramlett and Jason Terry were on center stage on the court at the Hoosier Dome helping the Wildcats win their first national championship in program history.

The three of them came together on Monday night 23 years after the historic day to talk about it on Rivera’s “Eye on the Ball” radio show on KVOI 1030-AM.


Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Bramlett and Terry talked about their memories of the 84-79 overtime win over Kentucky, the miraculous run to the title beating three No. 1 seeds and all the pomp and circumstance involved with the Wildcats that season.

Some of the highlights:

— Bramlett talked about being on the court an extra play against Kentucky despite fouling out.

— Terry discussed his superstitions (wearing his uniform to bed) and some of the other quirks of the teammates.

— Terry talked about Lute Olson’s poker-face approach in the championship game looking calm as he strolled to get a drink of water in the late minutes of the game.

— Bramlett reminisced about Olson taking off his sports jacket at The Pit in Albuquerque — Bramlett’s hometown — when he became incensed with the officiating during that season.

— Both talked about what Arizona’s program means to their life. “It’s kind of where I found myself. I’m very prideful to say that I am an Arizona Wildcat because that is where I grew up,” Terry said. “That is where I went from a boy from the inner-city of Seattle, Washington, to a man to a father of five and a husband.”

— They also discussed how the championship has changed their lives. “Our run is different than anyone else’s,” Bramlett said. “Beating three No. 1 seeds and us not being a favorite at all going into the tournament with all the adversity we had that year, and for us to pull that out and do what we did together, it was just a special feeling. That’s why I think people are so drawn to that year this much later and you’re still known for it forever being a national champion.”


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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