A soliloquy for the slam dunk
When you were growing up and messing around with a basketball in the backyard — everyone has a hoop — what was the one thing everyone wanted to do?
That’s right. Everyone wanted to try and dunk a basketball.
If you’re net was nailed to the front of a shed, chances are you hauled out any piece of equipment available to you and tried to jump off that in an attempt to slam the ball through the net. Tires were popular at my house partly because my uncle owns a trucking company, but there were times we’d try jumping off each other’s back to try and fly for a couple of brief seconds.
If someone was lucky enough to have a net with an adjustable hoop, dunking was easier. You’d just lower it to your height and get on with the 360 windmills.
Even with that ability, you’d want to raise the net and try the actual feat.
So, what is it about the attraction to the slam dunk?
We’re drawn to the slam dunk like moths to a flame. It has an allure that’s matched in North American sports only by bending a soccer ball.
Even at the weekend warrior level, a guy who can cram the ball through the hoop is revered for being tall, having long arms and a bit of athletic ability.
Players are drawn to others who can dunk. Those guys, and ones who can shoot the lights out, are magnets for attention.
It doesn’t matter which level it happens at. Dunking is must watch.
Go to a high school game in St. John’s and watch for the guys who can throw it down. From the time they take a couple of strides from the three-point line, rise up and cram it, eyeballs turn to them.
People pay attention when they have the ball in the lay-up line. Little kids scream ‘dunk’ when they start their approach.
It’s like that at the MUN Field House and the Air Canada Centre.
Professional ball players more float than jump. Sure, the bigger guys can get up there, but they don’t fly with ease some of their peers do.
It’s the closest humans come to flight without the help of a parachute or jumping from high elevations.
The dunk is poetry in motion at the highest degree. It’s like having an anti-gravity device strapped around your waist.
The dunk is attainable to only a few of us. That’s why it’s such an attraction. Just like not everyone can hit a softball 450 feet or throw a football the length of the field.
Going top corner in hockey can be practiced. So, can playing second base or dribbling the ball.
You can’t practice a slam dunk. You can either throw it down or you count. There’s no drill that allows you to jump higher.
It’s one of those sporting abilities that is a gift rather than one earned through hard work.
That’s what draws people to the slam dunk.
You can’t practice a slam dunk. You can either throw it down or you count. There’s no drill that allows you jump higher.