Taking the court
The Jaycees Jammerz exhibition basketball game against the Harlem Ambassadors has come and gone, and while I didn’t exactly wrap myself in glory, I didn’t embarrass myself either.
The local team, made up of 18 “ballers”, lost by about 20 points, but overall the experience was pretty good.
I started the game (shocker here) on the bench and was very content to watch our best five try to go toe-to-toe against the Ambassadors, who featured former college players.
It didn’t take me long to get a little nervous. The announcer proclaimed that any of the Jammerz that hoisted an airball would be subject to do five pushups out on the floor in front of the more than 200 spectators.
That didn’t sound like a lot of fun so I watched nervously from the sidelines as the two teams exchanged baskets.
I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be shooting after seeing a few teammates rip off five pushups in the middle of the court after their own airballs.
But when the second quarter started, I got the call. I’m certainly not a gazelle out there, but I was doing just fine getting up and down the floor.
I had a few opportunities to shoot, but wisely chose to pass to a teammate who generally converted the bucket.
Finally, later in the second quarter, play was stopped as the Ambassadors performed one of their skits.
It involved a foul, so it ended with everyone at the foul line. Oddly, even though one of my Jammerz teammates was shooting the free throws, myself and another teammate waited at the bottom of the free throw line, usually the spots designated for the opponents of the foul shooter.
So when the second free throw bounced off the rim, it dropped right down to me.
To be honest, I really would’ve preferred to pass it.
But I tossed up what was, in essence, a layup. It wasn’t exactly a thing of beauty. I didn’t use the backboard like all of my coaches would preach throughout my youth.
But I made the shot. I wouldn’t consider just hitting the rim a small victory.
Needless to say, that was the only shot I took all game, which meant no more points, but also no possibility of doing pushups in front of 200+.
When I was a young pup, I watched the Harlem Globetrotters with legends Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal.
That was quite a show, and I can still hear the whistled rendition of “Sweet Georgia Brown” that was the team’s theme song.
It’s pretty difficult to try to reprise a basketball show after these greats. Curly Neal was the best ballhandler I’d ever seen, then and since.
Meadowlark Lemon could effortlessly hoist half court hook shots and make them with better accuracy than most players shoot 3-pointers.
And there was always going to be a bucket, of either water or confetti, that would land in the front row as Lemon chased around a referee.
But the Ambassadors did a pretty good job and it was a fun event to be a part of.
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