If basketball was never invented, what would the NBA’s top stars be doing instead of dunking? Torey Strahl has your answers.
Let’s suppose—just for fun—that Dr. James Naismith had never moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, from his native Canada in the 1890s. Consider the effects this could’ve had on the course of sports history. Without the Springfield YMCA, Naismith might never have hung his peach baskets at opposite ends of a gymnasium, creating what was then intended as an indoor athletic distraction to the cold winter, which the world has come to know and love as basketball.
Imagine a world without hoops. No swishing nets. No squeaking high-tops. No alley-oops. Most “dunking” would involve donuts. “And-one” would just be math. The “maddest” thing this March would be all the actors who just realized they have to lose 50 pounds to win an Oscar. Perhaps, most noticeably, there’d be a heck of a lot of super-sized guys doing things other than dribbling. These big ballers, many of whom have achieved godlike glory in the world of sports, would have to regress to the state of mere mortality and maximize their skills in activities off the court (presuming they didn’t just find gigs in other pro sports).
Take, for instance …
- Charles Barkley. No “Sir” here. Instead of high rolling on the Las Vegas Strip, Chuckie B. would be spending all his “Cue Ball Barber Shop” earnings at the penny slots in Atlantic City.
- Forget UCLA and success in the pros. Bill Walton would have drawn on his talent for grumbling, making a name for himself as a film critic—“That’s a terrible film! TERRIBLE!” After he grew tired of the tedium of his innumerable “Two thumbs way, way down” reviews, he’d jumpstart a new career as the spokesperson for Polident.
- Back in Germany, Dirk Nowitzki would produce his own beer at a brewery called “Dirk’s Works.” For reasons unbeknownst to him, his favorite brews would be heavy on the hops.
- Tony Parker would have divorced an actual desperate housewife.
- Shaq would be that guy who never gets it in when tossing paper wads into a garbage can.
- Pat Riley would have beaten out Robert De Niro for lead roles in Casino and Meet the Parents. Even without seeing the movies, Pauly D would respect him for his hair product expertise.
- Avery Johnson would have gotten beat up a lot more often. (Think about it.)
- Perpetual screw-up Dennis Rodman would have become a frequent cross-dresser, married and divorced Carmen Elektra within a several-month span, and faced arrest following an incident of domestic dispute. Wait a second…
- Yao Ming would be revered as a national hero in his native China. While visiting local villages, he’d reach up and fetch cats from trees.
- Before vacationing in Florida, LeBron James would tweet that he’s going to Miami. People would not set fires in response.
It seems that some of these guys would fare well even without the game. But, let’s face it. There a quite a few hoopsters who should thank their lucky stars Naismith gave them a legal pastime. And yes, I’m talking to you, A.I.