April 11, 2008

Better fear “Jake-son Pollack”

My better is hopefully competitive with your better.

You think you can beat me? Bring it on.

You may or may not have what it takes.

My first step is probably slower than your first step. But my second step could be slightly faster than your second step.

My crossover will make you wish you were at home under the covers, or perhaps playing defense against someone else on my team.

My crossover will give you a high ankle sprain.

The way I dunk on you would be unorthodox if I could consistently jump high enough to touch the rim.

Back home, they call me “Jake-son Pollock” because I rule the paint but only in a very abstract way and only for less than three seconds at a time.

I rebound like Charles Barkley, or maybe a poor man’s Charles Barkley. I rebound like Carl Landry. Well, only if Carl Landry were much shorter and couldn’t jump as high and were also significantly less coordinated.

You know those kids in that Martin Lawrence movie Rebound? I rebound better than them.

I work the boards like a carpenter. I clean the glass like Mr. Clean or that do-it-yourself glass cleaner from

On reverse lay-ups, I spin the ball off the glass so smooth that I’m majoring in English. Actually I’m majoring in Law, Letters, and Society (if I get into that major), but I still excel at bouncing the ball off the backboard so that it goes in from awkward angles.

You will not stop me, though you very well may contain me.

Put your hand in my face; I’ll hit some of my lay-ups anyway.

When I catch fire, don’t even try putting me out—it’s probably too late.

Don’t worry about all these first-years not paying attention in class. They’ll be fine. I’m taking them to school every night.

I dribble between my legs better than you.

Watch my no-look bounce pass. You will be incredulous. My teammates will be angry and confused.

You know that scene from White Men Can’t Jump where Woody Harrelson’s character hits the half-court hook-shot? I could drain that shot from the nose-bleeds at the United Center—supposing the nose-bleeds were for some reason moved from the last row to inside the half-circle restricted zone beneath the basket.

Try whatever you want. Just don’t scuff the Starburies—they’re still fresh.

Force me to the baseline. I own the baseline.

Force me to the left. I’d prefer to go right, but I own both right and left.

Force me to shoot short-range jumpers. I own everything inside nine feet.

Force me to put up a prayer. I’m a religious man.

Play a perfect game. I’ll just call nonexistent fouls.

Slip’ n’ slide, tornado flick, speed loop, the professor, bag the groceries, ball wrap, step over, blaze twist, off-the-heezy, banana split, goosebumps, dream weaver, dragon claws. I don’t know any of those moves, but I do own several And 1 mixtapes, and I like to use a reverse through-the-legs dribble that you probably won’t see coming the first two or three times.

No, I don’t wear Jordans. I lost that eBay auction.

No, it’s not the afro. Actually, I get hair in my eyes a lot because of it.

That hideous runner in the lane? That jumper lacking anything that resembles arc? That’s all me, son.

There’s a higher likelihood of amazing happening when I step onto the court.

You think you’ve got it? You can find me in the local athletic club, on the hardwood.

Thank you very much for coming.