It's been about a week since I've posted on here. It's mostly due to March's Madness, both writing about it and just watching the games. But before I get into the subject of this post, I'd like to spend a brief moment on the latest exertion of Lebron's god-like powers. For those that say, "Oh, it probably took 37,210 takes to make it," don't focus on that. Instead, focus on the fact that from halfcourt—50 feet away and with a little more than an underhanded flick of wrist—he hurled a basketball...swish. Mortals like us put near-maximum force into an attempt from the same distance, complete with full wind-up and follow-through; and may still fall short of the basket. Lebron short-armed his release just in case he overshot it. Amazing. To the real post...
For awhile now, I've been writing about how Basketball is the most individual of all the team sports, and the only one that must be fully played with one's own personality. A player cannot exactly copy another's style. One of the best examples of this in the entire realm is Sam Young's Pump Fake, known in my inner circle as "The Grizzle Fake," after his exclamation of, "In your grizzle..." during a pickup game.
The pump fake, like the in-and-out dribble and jab step, will always have a somewhat good chance of success because it's based on deception. It's a fundamental move that's taught by purists in Midwestern gyms. But because of the uniqueness of the basketball player, Young's fake reigns supreme. Opposing coaches drum into their forwards' heads that its coming. Rick Pitino has even included it in his scouting report. Yet two or three times a game, Sam raises up on his toes and the ball is above his forehead; and defenders lose all principles and go flying.
But I wonder if those so-called purists—the ones that frown on the crossover and place religious solace in the two-handed bounce pass—detest The Grizzle Fake. If so, then this is the disconnect between what they want Basketball to be, and it fundamental nature. Do they despise it the way that the alley-oop was once dismissed as showboating? Is it "too unique" for them? Are they upset that even something so educated as the pump fake can be mixed with a person's being and be made their own? That move can only be a part of Sam's formula on Basketball. Anyone who attempts to xerox that move won't get the desired results. You won't be up on your toes enough, you'll be too quick with the fake, your hand placement won't be exactly like the release on your jumper. Bluntly put, it won't be the same. It'll be just another shot fake that may or may not work depending on your real jumper's success rate. Sam's move is Sam's move from now 'til basketball infinity.