When a person plays sports, there are certain events that stand out as the most exciting, usually eliciting a roar from the crowd. In basketball, that play is the dunk. I started dunking in the 7th grade, and had my first official(that is in a refereed game) dunk when I was in 9th grade when I was playing with the sophomore team at Hopkins High School. It was brilliant-I was guarding the star sophomore from Cooper near half court, he tried to dribble past me, and I picked his pocket, flew to the other end, and gracefully slammed the ball home. Then came the drought...10th, 11th, 12th, ALL of college I didn't see myself above the rim once. Not that I wasn't able to dunk, I simply preferred to take the sure-fire route of making a lay-up, an almost perfect percentage when compared with dunking. At times, I felt like Woody Harrelson from "White Men Can't Jump". I was fine not dunking, and instead focused on playing hard defense, making good passes and taking the shot when I had it...though deep down I always wanted to expand what I was able to do.
Now, in my most recent game, I did just that. I had sat out the previous game with an ankle sprain, but had been feeling physically dominant most of this year due to the amount of lifting and shooting I had been doing. I laced up my ankle brace, and was ready for the battle. Late in the 4th quarter my teammate drove the lane, dropped off a perfect bounce pass which I caught in the midst of drop-stepping to the hoop. I rose up above my defender, lifted the ball high, and threw it through the hoop with the full force of my body rattling the rim. Plus, the foul.
That's right, after 10 years of not dunking, I am back in the game, and it feels damn good. Psychologically this has done me wonders. The next day I went to shoot and the rim looked lower than usual. I measured it 3 times to be sure, but it was still 10 feet. My entire mentality has shifted to make the hoop seem closer to the ground!
Also, I very easily could have laid the ball up, but instead I chose to take the risk of dunking it, and it paid off. A big part of the reason I'm here playing basketball is to challenge myself to be the best basketball player I can possibly be. When I consciously take these types of risks, it makes me believe I am on the right path, which to me means everything.
5 years ago