Ep. 18: Hosting a Block Party

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Welcome to the NBA Conference Finals. The Denver Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to overcome two separate 3-1 deficits and will start their series with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat continue their Eastern Conference Finals showdown, which was punctuated by a block party that I cannot stop watching.

In the final seconds of overtime, Boston’s Jayson Tatum attempted to dunk the ball, only to meet a man whose name you must yell whenever you say it: BAM ADEBAYO!

I’m still not entirely sure how BAM ADEBAYO didn’t break his wrist defending this shot. Tatum is no slouch and he’s coming into the lane with the force of AT LEAST a Thomas the Tank Engine, if not also an Edward and Gordon.

But that doesn’t stop BAM ADEBAYO from…well, stopping Tatum. The Heat won this game 117-114 and look to take a commanding 2-0 lead tonight.

This block opens up another interesting question: What are some of the most disrespectful blocks in NBA history? Come along, we’re headed to a block party.

Javale McGee Grabs a Ball in Mid-Air

Javale McGee may be more well-known for his frequent appearances on Shaqtin’ A Fool, the recurring bit on TNT’s Inside the NBA that looks at boneheaded plays around the league.

But back in 2011, he made a play that still gets people leaping out of their chairs.

Portland’s Wesley Matthews (not featured in the Portlandia sketch with several Trail Blazers, probably because the show barely existed in 2011) thinks he has an easy dunk. Javale says otherwise, literally ripping the ball out of Matthews’s hands. Now THAT’S a block party.

Thomas Robinson Blocks Dunk, Then Watches Teammate Dunk

McGee’s block was certainly disrespectful, but Portland fans got the last laugh. Because three years later, against a totally different team, they got their revenge.

Much like McGee’s and BAM ADEBAYO’s blocks, Thomas Robinson (who was in that Portlandia sketch) blocks a dunk. But this one is doubly disrespectful because not only does Robinson jettison the ball all the way to the three-point line, his teammates push the ball downcourt and end the play with an alley-oop to Will Barton.

They demonstrated how to properly finish a dunk, and everyone (except Minnesota) is absolutely delighted by it.

Also, the Portland PA announcer and sound effects crew have a lot of fun during this sequence, and that’s always a joy.

Kemba Walker, The Human Eraser

The only block of a three-point shot on the list, this one is a bit of a combo disrespect.

Knicks guard (and noted pig farmer) Jose Calderon thinks he has an open three-point shot, and he gets a biiiit too casual as he’s pulling up to the line.

That lackadaisical spirit allows Charlotte’s Kemba Walker — who had just turned the ball over — to sprint back into the action. Rather than blocking the ball from behind, Walker takes things to new heights by getting his hand in front of Calderon’s shot.

The move offers enough force to catapult the ball into the stands. Never underestimate the power of a player trying to atone for a mistake.

LeBron James Wins a Gold Medal Via a Vicious Block

LeBron James has had many wild blocks in his career. His chasedown block of Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals is on virtually any playoff highlight reel, but that was more a good play than a disrespectful block.

Instead, let’s look at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing to find LeBron truly making a monstrous block. This disrespect level is high here for a few reasons.

First, as the announcers note, LeBron spikes the ball like he’s playing beach volleyball. This is a basketball game, not a 2-on-2 matchup in the sand.

Second, the ball is headed toward the sideline, but LeBron’s eyes are focused on the baseline, where his block victim lies curled up in the fetal position. LeBron is not concerned with trying to save the ball whatsoever.

Third, these Olympics featured a horribly high-pitched car horn noise whenever substitutions were being made. Right after LeBron sends this ball into orbit, the horn sounds, emanating an early 1900s paperboy yelling, “Extra, extra! Read all about it!”

Also of note: the U.S. team didn’t actually win a gold medal after this 97-76 victory over Angola. But they didn’t lose a game the entire Olympics, so this game was like 1/8th of a medal for everyone, including LeBron. He was probably too busy hosting another block party, though.

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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