Issue 81: Sorry, Pal…That Doesn’t Count

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One year, our high school team played in a summer league at some faraway school. Every school got to play four games. One of the other teams that was participating was unable to play any of the games after its first two, so that meant our team played six games in the span of eight hours.

Even as a high school student, probably at the peak of my physical career, I thought this sure seems like a lot of games. What choice did I have, though?

In any case, I had been playing VERY poorly in one of the games. I was missing shots, throwing the ball out of bounds, and even dribbling off my foot one time, where the ball rolled out an open door and I had to walk into the woods to get it.

Okay, it was just the grass right outside the door, but still. That’s a pretty rough error.

Toward the end of the game, I made a lovely move to get past my defender, but he fouled me as I was going by him, spinning me around in the process. I heard the *THWEEEET* of the whistle and thought what the heck, let’s just throw up the shot backward over my head.

The shot went in. The one time the basket would not count was the one time I made it. Of course.

For some reason, I still remember that, even though it was about a decade and a half ago. But at least my “didn’t count” moment isn’t as bad as any of these.

Richard Jefferson Turns Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Into Dust

If you do nothing else today, I need you to watch this clip below. It’s less than one minute and it will be one of the better minutes of your entire month.

While with the Dallas Mavericks, Richard Jefferson dunked so hard over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist that the latter actually fell into the court, swallowed by embarrassment. The entire crowd leaped to their feet. Jefferson yelled “let’s goooooo!” and probably a lot of other things unfit for print.

Even MKG’s teammates knew he had been eviscerated. I’m not sure who it is, but keep an eye on the Hornets bench during this dunk (behind the basket where the dunk happens). You see a player grab the guy next to him and slink to the floor.

Again, his teammate and possibly friend had just been mercilessly dunked on, perhaps the worst thing you can experience on the floor. And his only reaction was to turn into a puddle. I suppose in those situations there’s really nothing you can do.

At the time of this dunk, Jefferson was 34 years and eight months old. I am younger than him and within the past couple of years have injured myself from lifting a wardrobe and sneezing too aggressively. So…we’re basically on the same level.

The officials took this dunk away from Jefferson, though, calling it an offensive foul. Jefferson later reflected on his moment and called it “the biggest robbery of my career.” I agree. 

Allen Iverson Nearly Knocks Someone Off the Ceiling

Dwight Howard has been making plenty of appearances in this newsletter lately. First, he was in a dance battle with Shaq and LeBron. Then, he was awkwardly crashing an interview with the coach he wanted to be fired.

Here, he’s trying to punk Allen Iverson and, in return, getting punked himself.

After the whistle gets blown, Iverson takes a jump shot. Howard leaps up to block the shot (despite the fact this basket would not count anyway). The ball caroms back out to Iverson, who then shoots it VERY high into the air. It completely leaves the screen for a good two seconds.

Then it drops right through the hoop, but Iverson has already coolly walked away. The whole thing is so smooth.

This isn’t really anything new for Iverson, though. He’s got an entire top ten highlight reel of plays that didn’t count. This one, though, is just… 👩‍🍳💋

Quick sidebar: This highlight reminds me of a game I used to play as a kid called Gorillas. It was a QBasic PC game from 1990 where you were two gorillas standing on top of city skyscrapers. The goal was for your gorilla to defeat the other gorilla by hitting it with a banana. You chose the velocity and angle at which you wanted to throw your banana.

Sometimes I would just chuck the banana up at some ridiculous angle and velocity so that it completely left the screen. That’s what this shot triggered in my head.

As a bonus, if you hit the sun, it made a surprised face, like “hey, watch it!” I don’t think Iverson actually did hit someone on the ceiling, but he could have. That was a very high shot.  

Russell Westbrook Hits All Over the Backboard and Rim

I’m a fan of hoisting up a shot whenever you get fouled. Sure, occasionally the foul won’t be called and you’ll look BONKERS, but more often than not you might get a trip to the line.

Or, at the very least, you might get a cool highlight out of it, even if it doesn’t count.

That’s what Russell Westbrook pulled off in a 2016 game against the San Antonio Spurs. To stop a Westbrook fast break, the Spurs committed a foul.

Undeterred, Westbrook gently lobbed the ball at the rim. It almost looks like it kind of slips off his hand, much like a Mario Kart driver may slip on a banana peel.

The ball then proceeds to hit just about every element of the basket, from the backboard to the shot clock to the entire rim. And then it drops through. 

Even the announcers don’t know if the basket was good. I say COUNT IT!

Darryl Dawkins’ Delightful Dunk

I hope that was enough alliteration for you in the title. Sadly, this jam did not count. But…I guess you knew that, since every entry on this list didn’t count.

In any case, there’s very little good footage of this dunk on the world wide internets, probably because it happened nearly 40 years ago.

Thankfully, there’s a list of the 20 best dunks from Darryl Dawkins. This one is number TWO on the list (in front of back-to-back entries where he shattered the backboard) and it resulted in an offensive foul and no basket.

Dawkins had the nickname “Chocolate Thunder” but in this case “Chocolate Lightning” would be more appropriate, because he absolutely shocked poor, hapless Bob McAdoo standing in his way. 

Chauncey Billups and the 75-Foot Travel

Making a three-pointer is tough. Hitting a halfcourt shot is even tougher. Anything beyond halfcourt? Well, we’re mostly talking luck at this point.

But Chauncey Billups hit one of these long-distance bombs from 75 feet away when he was with the Denver Nuggets. The only problem? It didn’t count, because Billups had been called for traveling before launching his shot. 

The first time I ever saw this highlight, the comments were littered with disappointment. 

After all, the title of the video is “Chauncey Billups 75 foot Travel.” We wanted to see Billups running nearly the length of the entire court with the ball, just showing a blatant disregard for the rules. Alas…

Other Reads and Watches

Maria Pasquini: Steph Curry’s son thought he was a golfer for a long time

Alexa Philippou: Why the Chicago Sky suspended Gabby Williams for the entire WNBA season

Brian T. Smith: The NBA has lost its way

Jesse Spector: NBA will respond to Zion injury in way NHL has yet to learn

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


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