I wish I could dunk
I am sure that we have all seen the movie “White Men Can’t Jump.” It instilled a fear in me at a young age that my pale complexion would result in me being defeated by gravity for the remainder of my life.
Now at the age of 25, with red hair, freckles and lacking the ability to jump over a phone book, I find myself resigned to the fact that it will never happen.
I will never be able to perform one of the most dramatic, masculine and powerful moves that can be displayed on a basketball court.
The power of the dunk should not be underestimated. It may seem like a simple act, but often a powerful slam can swing a match that looked certain for defeat or put a close match out of the reach of opposition.
If you do no believe me, watch more NBA. When a match appears in the balance and a player from the home team puts up a poster dunk, the kind where your nether regions are bouncing off the oppositions chin, the opposing coach will instantly call a time out as the crowd collectively erupts in rapturous joy.
This one act brings an overpowering sense of defeat as the crowd suddenly finds a voice of a level not previously experienced during the match; it increases the inevitability of the whole thing.
Suddenly the spectators can smell blood.
For the opposition, is such an emasculating act, a show of domination. If we remember that we are not too far removed from our animalistic instincts that have been repressed for only a short period of time, this act of dominance can be incredibly demeaning and psychologically destructive.
You often see the resulting expression of disbelief on the opposing players face, like coming home and seeing the next-door neighbour with your wife. You just did not see it coming. The player often walks around looking slightly lost trying to figure out how they could have stopped it from happening.
How can this act be negated? By performing the second most destructive move on a basketball court, the block.
I once had a dream that I blocked Lebron James while playing for the Boston Celtics. I connected with the ball so well that the ball flew into row Q. This resulted in people in the Garden ripping out their seats and throwing them onto the court in appreciation, half eaten hotdogs rained down from the upper levels. I imagine this would happen in real life if a six foot two red head blocked arguably the most explosive player to be involved in the game.
My dream aside, the block can silence a crowd while sending out an alpha dog type vibe by making the statement “do not bring that junk into my house”. It can send the message to the opposition that there is no way you are getting into the lane. If you do you are either getting blocked or beat up.
It can make previously aggressive players start to take outside jumpers and allow you to spread your defence a little bit more, slowly push the opposition into retreat.
Both of these manoeuvres require supreme athleticism and the fact that men of this size can be athletically explosive given their stature is remarkable. If you want to see the difference look at footage of Aaron Sandilands running, then watch a highlights package of Blake Griffin dunking, especially his highlights v the Knicks last year.
Seriously, check it out.
Both of these players are just short of seven foot tall. Blake Griffin is 6 foot 10 (2.08 meters) while Sandilands is 6 foot 11 (2.11 meters). The difference in athleticism could not be further apart.
This is a regular occurrence in the NBA, supremely athletic, incredibly tall players. In other sports the freakishly tall are relegated to being classified as Gumby’s, as targets at full forward or as jumpers in the lineout.
Sure taking a hanger is great, putting on a big hit will fire up your mates but having the ability to completely dominate someone psychologically through one act, being able to land and look strait into the eyes of the person you have just destroyed, must be incredibly moving and powerful.
In a big moment in a big game, these acts are true game changers. The conference finals are just firing up, watch, enjoy them and admire some of the greatest athletes in the world.
If you are like me and resemble someone who has been struck down by rigamortis while still alive, this is the closest you will ever get.