Chris Street was a talented and passionate basketball player who played for the Iowa Hawkeyes from 1990 to 1993. He was known for his hard work, hustle and heart on the court, as well as his kindness and generosity off the court. He had a bright future ahead of him, with many expecting him to play in the NBA someday. However, his life and career were tragically cut short by a car accident that occurred on January 19, 1993. Here is what happened to Chris Street, and how his legacy lives on.
The Fatal Collision
On the night of January 19, 1993, Chris Street was driving his car with his girlfriend, Kim Vinton, to a night class at the University of Iowa. He had just finished having dinner with his teammates at the Highlander Supper Club, where he received a standing ovation from the fans for his performance against Duke three days earlier. He had scored 14 points and extended his record of consecutive free throws made to 34, a record that still stands today.
As he was driving on Highway 1, near the outskirts of Iowa City, he collided with a snowplow that was clearing the road. The impact of the crash was so severe that Street was killed instantly. Vinton survived the accident, but suffered serious injuries, including a punctured lung, a separated shoulder and broken ribs. She was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for treatment.
The news of Street’s death shocked and saddened everyone who knew him, especially his family, friends, teammates and coaches. His funeral was held on January 22, 1993, at the First Assembly of God Church in Indianola, his hometown. Thousands of people attended the service, including Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, and former Iowa basketball coach Lute Olson.
The Tribute and Legacy
Chris Street was buried at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Indianola. His grave is marked by a monument that reads: “Son, Brother, Grandson, Friend, Cousin, Nephew, Hero.” His jersey number 40 was retired by the Iowa Hawkeyes in his honor, and a memorial plaque with his photo and bio is displayed in the locker room at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Street’s memory and spirit have inspired many people over the years, especially those who play or love basketball. His former teammates dedicated their season to him and wore patches with his initials on their uniforms. They also established the Chris Street Foundation, which provides scholarships and awards to student-athletes who exemplify Street’s values and character.
One of the most touching tributes to Street came from Jordan Bohannon, who played for the Hawkeyes from 2016 to 2021. In 2018, Bohannon had a chance to break Street’s free throw record in a game against Northwestern. However, he intentionally missed his last free throw to preserve Street’s record, saying that it belonged to him. Bohannon later met with Street’s parents and gave them the game ball.
Another tribute to Street came from the Big Ten Network, which produced a documentary titled “The Chris Street Story” in 2023. The documentary features interviews with Street’s family, friends, coaches and teammates, as well as footage from his games and highlights from his life. The documentary aims to celebrate Street’s achievements and legacy, as well as raise awareness about road safety.
Chris Street was a remarkable young man who left an indelible mark on Iowa basketball and beyond. His cause of death was a tragic accident that took away his life too soon. However, his spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of those who knew him or admired him. He will always be remembered as a Hawkeye legend and a hero.