The Play (White Men Can’t Jump, 1)
We’d never seen a movie like it.
Open with a free throw shooting contest and transition straight to mommas.
He said, “Yo momma’s teeth are so yellow, she could bite a hole off a bridge.”
“That wouldn’t make any sense. It’s, yo momma’s teeth are so yellow, she could butter a whole loaf of bread.”
There we sat, suburban white boys trying to untangle the vernacular of black men on Venice Beach, as written by a white man from Whittier.
But we understood the post-up, behind-the-back bounce pass Woody Harrelson delivered in the pick-up game. The improbability of his half-court hook shot and the vindication of his dunk. The absurdity of Wesley Snipes’s no-look alley-oop pass.
That universal language crossed not only the racial lines the film was built on, but our age. We couldn’t yet appreciate the socioeconomic implications of the Vista View Apartments which damn sure had no vistas or views of them, or even Rosie Perez’s breasts. But we understood crossover dribbles and jump shots. That more than winning and losing, the joy was in growing old and still remembering to play.
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Photo by Movies in LA /Flickr