Issue 87: “I’ve been a baller since birth, son. Now, I’m an athlete.” 🏀

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Issue 87: Great Basketball Moments in Television Shows

Memorial Day weekend is behind us, and Crisp Bounce Pass extends a sincere thank you to all of our military members who serve.

This weekend also seemed to mark the “official” kickoff of a somewhat normal life. More and more people are getting fully vaccinated, and there’s a sort of anxious excitement as everyone dips their toes back into society.

We’ve spent the past year-plus at home, with many of us turning to TV. You may have seen some glorious moments—and they may have even involved basketball. So let’s jump into the best basketball on TV shows.

Homer Simpson Tears His ACL

The Simpsons has been on the air for roughly 496 years. Back in season 12, we had some real gems, including the episode “Children of a Lesser Clod.”

The plot finds Homer starting a daycare at his house after tearing his ACL. And how does he tear it? By trying a spectacularly complex and difficult dunk and smashing through the backboard. Just like they drew it up.

This whole scene brings back some memories of playing at my local gym. “Willie tickles the twine for two” is a great line. Carl being very good at basketball and Lenny taking his ball and going home are both wonderful things.

However, another memorable bit is actually not in this clip at all. It’s shortly after, when Homer is telling Dr. Hibbert how he suffered his injury.

Per Homer, he was at a park and jumped up so high he dunked the ball into Saturn, displacing the planet through its rings. Then George Jetson drives into his knee.

Actually, maybe I should have put that clip instead because it’s just as entertaining. Or maybe just watch the below, and then this one.

The Gang Gives Back

Speaking of shows that have been on the air forever, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is still going strong. The gang finds no shortage of ways to get into mischief, like fixing a basketball game among kids to potentially make money from a mob.

I’m not sure if this is the scene I’d show to someone to convince them to watch It’s Always Sunny, but it does do a pretty solid job of showing every character at their most manic. And when chaos reigns supreme, that’s when the show is even funnier.

There’s a sequence about halfway through this video where Charlie, drunkenly officiating, makes one of the finest end-to-end plays we’ll ever come across.

He dribbles all the way down the court and pulls off the spectacularly tough launch-the-ball-at-the-basket-from-less-than-two-feet-away maneuver, before coming back the other way and, a la LeBron James doing a patented chase-down block, swatting a poor kid’s shot into the baseline wall.

This episode was Season 2, Episode 6 of the show, airing on July 20, 2006. As one person noted in the YouTube comments, these kids are now old enough to legally drink at Paddy’s Pub, where the Always Sunny cast works.

Goodness, that made me sad. Let’s just watch the clip and think of happier times.

Will Smith = Greatest Baller Ever?

No matter the frequency with which you use the internet, you have certainly seen the final shot of this montage below. But have you ever seen the whole highlights?

During the “My Brother’s Keeper” (Season 2, Episode 15) episode of The Fresh Prince, Will Smith puts on one of the most spectacular performances a basketball court has ever…uh…held court to.

And it starts right awayIn an earlier montage, Will takes a jump ball and hoists up a shot from halfcourt before he even falls to the ground. It’s wildly illegal, but it sure looks cool.

He’s also confident enough to dribble all over the floor (on the smallest court in history), toss a self alley-oop off the backboard, and get a kiss from a cheerleader.

Yet, despite all of Will’s heroics, Bel-Air still finds itself down two points in the closing seconds. Will has the ball against a smaller defender, and the coach decides to call a timeout to tell his team to…pass to Will for a three-pointer.

Real questionable decision-making there, though I suppose you can’t take your timeouts with you into the locker room, so you may as well use them.

However, that move sets Carlton up to be the hero…how will he fare?

The Parks and Rec Cast Gets Schooled

There are no shortage of NBA cameos on Parks and Recreation, but there are also some scenes with just the core crew.

During “Women in Garbage” (Season 5, Episode 11), Tom Haverford needs to learn how to play basketball. His clientele consists of children that are big hoops fans, and Tom only knows players based on which Kardashian they’re dating and/or marrying and/or divorcing.

He enlists the help of Andy and Ben, who are better known for playing guitar and creating board games, respectively.

It’s very difficult to fake bad basketball, but these guys do it well. There are also a few interesting notes in this scene—most notably, Ben inbounds the ball from the baseline during a halfcourt 3-on-3 game. I’ve never seen that before and likely never will again.

Finally, Andy’s attempt to dunk at the very end is one of the best bits of physical comedy you’ll witness all year.

Hey Batter, Batter—Sa-WING, Batter, Batter!

I’m aware basketball and baseball are two very different sports. HOWEVER, I think a lot of this scene could apply to both instances.

We’ve got two captains picking teams. We’ve got an inspiring pep talk. We’ve got people judging others based on how they handle themselves.

You can and will see those types of situations unfolding in most basketball games. Therefore, I don’t feel it’s outrageous to include this scene from Freaks and Geeks. Plus, John Francis Daley is one of my doppelgangers, so bonus points for anything he’s in.

It’s all just very heartwarming and silly. Tell me you’re not giddy when you hear Sam’s little laugh after Bill picks him.

And sometimes, a little giddiness is all you need in life.

Other Reads and Watches

Cary Chow on how Jeremy Lin’s career mirrors the Asian American movement right now

Sydney Olmstead on Liz Cambage schooling Curt Miller after his dumb comments

Paolo Uggetti on the anatomy of Dame Time

Adam Kilgore and Emily Giambalvo on the very real possibility of the Tokyo Olympics being canceled

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


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