The Anchor

Kevin takes another breath. His left hand bouncing the ball subconsciously as if an autonomous machine. He looks above his defender towards the shot clock in glowing red indicating 12 seconds remaining, then towards his defender’s feet. They are both flat facing him, a neutral position to react and defend Kevin’s attack. Kevin also realizes his advantage. His defender will be just slow enough for Kevin to make his move.

11 seconds left. Kevin reacts and passes to his point guard Russell on his left. As Russell catches the ball, and immediately drops his left hand with a sign for Kevin to rush the basket. Kevin fakes right, then left while his defender tries to react. Kevin’s advantage allowed him to blow pass his defender towards an open basket with only the center left to as the final defense.

Russell sees his opening and throws the ball into the air towards the front of the basket. He knows that Kevin’s length will be able to catch the ball as long as it is within 5 feet of the basket. 95% chance of success.

Kevin catches the ball in front of him with one hand. In mid-air he sees the 7 ft center jumps towards the gap between Kevin and the basket, blocking any chance for Kevin to score. Panic, he looks up and the clock is now down to 7 seconds. As he fall, he sees James rush from the right and pulls down, wraps it behind his back and passes it to James who stands about 15 feet away with no defender.

James catches it in motion, tucks his legs beneath him and rises up to shoot. A motion that he’s practiced over 15 years. His body, in one fluid motion. As he releases the ball, Kevin sees the clock still at 2 seconds, knowing the shot is good, he breathes a sigh of relief knowing that they were going to win the game. James is the best shooter on the team and when no one is around him, there is no chance that he would miss a wide open shot.

As the ball hit its highest arch, it appears to suspend in the air for a beat before it falls. Rotation perfect, creating the best airflow and route for the ball to fall through the basket. As it falls, from James vantage,  the route looks perfect. The horn blares and the crowd roared. The opposing team jumps in the air, some chest bumping each other.

James realized he used too much power and airballed the shot.

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Author: Nhan Le

By way of Anaheim, CA.

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