Chris Street’s last game in an Iowa basketball uniform typified the spirit of a player whose life would come to a tragic end less than 72 hours later.
The intensity, determination and feisty, competitive spirit which were constants in Street’s game were all there as a 13th-ranked Iowa team battled two-time defending national champion Duke on even terms before falling 65-56 at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 16, 1993.
The game was physical and Street and Blue Devils All-American point guard Bobby Hurley exchanged words throughout after Street blocked one of Hurley’s shots early in the game.
At one point, Hurley used on-court sign language to tell Street to “kiss off.”
Street was the only Hawkeyes player to speak to the media following that game, finishing with 14 points and eight rebounds. Outside the locker room of the storied arena, he described his interaction with Hurley this way: “I just asked him about how his mother was and how his brother was doing at Seton Hall,” Street said, unable to hold back a smile that frequently filled his face. “Just kidding, there were a lot of words used out there, but that’s just part of the game. It was a big game.”
That was Street.
So was the player who stopped to sign an autograph for a youngster following a tough loss at Ohio State two weeks earlier, taking the time to step out of a line of teammates scurrying to the bus to make a child’s day.
It was all part of who Street was and that helped make everything work for a player who averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.
“Chris Street is constantly fighting to control himself, but I’m not so sure that isn’t good. His emotions are a big part of his game,” coach Tom Davis said during a news conference the day before Street’s death.
In the week prior to his tragic death, Street was asked about his play and his passion for the game.
“I don’t see myself as anything special,” he said at that time. “I just put everything I have into every opportunity I get. I think that’s what every basketball player should be all about.”