You made me so anxious. And, honestly, I thought you were gonna betray me. There was 2.1 seconds left, and the Spurs were up by one. Latrell Sprewell slipped his way past Sean Elliott and Tim Duncan and into the unprotected paint. Charlie Ward tossed you into the air and, for that split second, I thought the Knicks had the lay-in. Sprewell had his arms up like a receiver and you hit him right in the hands.
But you’re particular, and even a quarterback like Ward can’t always throw you exactly where you don’t want to go. You drifted just a little far, and trapped Sprewell under the basket. He held you low and looked up but could only see the bottom of the backboard and the raised arms of Elliott. You and he swung under the rim and faded away.
Duncan and David Robinson stretched out their arms and you glided over them in a high arc. Too high, in fact: You went up, and came right back down into the hands of Elliott, who slammed you off the ground. Given that all you’d done for Sean that season, he could have handled you a little more tenderly.
Even as I re-watch the play, knowing the outcome, I still get anxious. I still think, for that moment you’re in the air, drifting over the 3-point line and into the paint, maybe this time, the 100th time I’ve watched it, the 20th time I’ve watched it today, you’ll be on their side. It’s a dozen years later and you still make me anxious.
More from “Talking To Talking Balls Week” at the Good Men Project:
Bethlehem Shoals: The Absurd Talking Balls
Peter Schrager: The Great Frank Brickowski
Tim Burke: A Cavs Fan’s Love for Laimbeer
Tom Ley: The Ballad of Adam Morrison
Andy Hutchins: Nice Try, Kobe
Eric Nusbaum: Lakers Flags
Patrick Hayes: Patrick and The Admiral
Alan Siegel: The Hypocrisy of Jordan’s Ball
Andrew Bucholtz: Chuck, This Is Goodbye
Holly MacKenzie: Everything Is Possible
Kurt Helin: Lee’s Layup