Thursday , Nov , 10 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Why We Love The Game: The Little Things

What’s good, basketball fans?

They say it’s the little things that count, and I have to agree. The sky-scraping jams, knee-buckling crossovers and sixty-foot buzzer-beaters are always fun, but what about the aspects of the game you’ll never see in a highlight reel? In today’s edition, we’ll be looking at everything we love about the NBA that you’ll rarely – if ever – see mentioned in the newspapers.

Let’s get right into it.

Why We Love The Game: The Little Things

The Shimmy
It just had to be. Although officially retired, we’re still occasionally treated to the celebration that never fails to amuse. Say what you want about the player himself, but if you can’t enjoy watching a 6’9’’ man shake like a fat lady’s belly, you might have no soul. Let’s hope ’Toine breaks his pledge to keep The Shimmy under wraps at least once this year.
Carlos Boozer’s Electric Shock
Following a standard two-hand cram, Booz appears to seize up as he releases the rim with one hand and swings through on the way down. If you’ve seen it happen, you’ll know why it’s both difficult to describe and hilarious to watch. An obnoxious habit to some, but I appreciate it for the simple fact that he does it every single time he puts down a double-fisted dunk, be it a jam in the layup line or a game-winning throwdown.
European Interviews
What’s more fun to watch than an oversized whiteboy with a mop-top stumble his way through a post-game interview in broken English? I know that one of the reasons I refrain from immediately switching over following the buzzer is that I’m hoping to hear the latest import grapple with the language. Of course, it’s never long before they achieve fluency, but in the meantime, we’re treated to such classics as Gheorghe Muresan’s “I love this game” press conference. As someone who has been stranded in a foreign country with only a limited knowledge of the local tongue myself, I can appreciate that it’s not quite so funny to be on the other side of it. That won’t stop me laughing, though.
Animated Referees
I can’t tell you why the man with the worst job on the court would find his job endlessly exciting, but certain referees spend the bulk of the game as hyped as the players. Although not a phenomenon specific to the league, it does seem to be NBA officials who are most prone to excessive animation in the line of duty. If any of you have ever picked up a whistle yourself, you’ll know how bland a role it can be, yet every game you’ll see one of the zebras (I know the jerseys are gone, but still) react to a travel call as if they’d won the lottery. Whatever floats your boat, ref.
Pre-game Team Rituals
What time is it?
Game time, whoof!
Every team has one, and most are nothing if not entertaining. Some squads dance, others bump off one another, and a select few have tailored chants. Whatever their focusing method, each ritual is worth a watch whenever you get the chance. They may not always be particularly creative, but they’ll normally showcase the type of jackassery generally kept from the cameras, and that’s something you can’t help but love.
Let me know what it is that you like about the league via email ([email protected]) or the comment box at the bottom of the page. We’ll come back to this at a later date with your responses and the rest of my list. Until tomorrow, take it easy.