Last week I whined about my teams losing. This Sunday I got back on the wagon and watched the Dolphins kind of redeem themselves against our hated archrival, The New York Jets. At the end of the night I checked the computer and saw my basketball team, The Miami Heat also won. A good day for a Miami sports nut, but at the end of the article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel there was this footnote…
“A sad day for all Heat fans with the passing of Alan Ogg. A moment of silence was held before the game A gentler giant you could not find.”
If you were not 13 in Miami in 1991 this would mean nothing to you. Millions of people die every day in the world (I imagine the number is that high, but maybe it’s far less). But I was 13 in Miami in 1991 and so I am saddened to hear this.
There are twelve men on an NBA roster and Alan Ogg was what was called the twelfth man. He sat at the end of a bench for a mediocre team and had to wait for such immortals as Grant Long and Rony Seikaly to get hurt or in foul trouble to see any game action. I don’t know if it was his name (the NBA had some great names back then. Uwe Blab, Manute Bol, Bimbo Coles.) or the fact that he played garbage time like it was the last minute of a tied elimination game, but the people loved him. Fans would wait until the end of blow outs and chant “We want Ogg! We want Ogg!”
I remember talking with another basketball fan in my seventh grade math class and we started calling him Ogg the Log. In my mind everyone called him Ogg the Log, but maybe it was just us.
One time at the end of a game Ogg scored eight points in one minute of play. The Miami Herald calculated that if he played the full 48 minutes he would have obliterated Wilt Chamberlain’s record 100 point game with 384 points.
But his most meaningful professional moment was probably in game 3 of the first round of the 1992 playoffs. The expansion Miami Heat were in the playoffs for the first time in their four year existence. They were playing one of the great teams of all time in Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. The Bulls flirted the whole season with winning a then record seventy games.
The first two games were routs. But somehow in game 3 in the friendly confines of the Miami Arena the Heat had taken a lead. The Bulls wanted momentum to go into the locker room. They drew up a play for an open jump shot. Some player in red stood in the corner and hoisted what looked like an easy two, but no sir. There was Alan Ogg blocking that shot into the second row. The crowd erupted as did I in my living room. Ogg the Log.
The Heat ended up losing that game. Jordan had 56 points. Pippen had 31. Ogg had zero.
It was the last game he ever played for the Miami Heat. I assume he had many more meaningful moments in the seventeen years between that game and his death. His obituary mentioned a wife and a stepdaughter, but they could have also mentioned a city full of fans.