Saturday January 12th, 2013

*****

All sorts of ludicrous things take place on an NBA court during stoppages of play, but a season-ticket holder named Kevin topped them all during Friday night's game between the Hawks and Jazz at Philips Arena.

As part of the Hawks' "Money Shot" promotion, Kevin had a chance to win \$1,000 by making a half-court shot. "I'm feeling pretty good," Kevin said. "I'll try [to make it]." With Hawks cheerleaders standing by and an emcee providing play-by-play, Kevin approached his shot as a one-hand toss, getting off a baseball-style heave that arced directly towards the hoop. Kevin's try was just a touch long, but rather than bounce high off the rim or back off the backboard, the ball came to rest squarely on the back of the rim and didn't move. The ball remained motionless for at least 14 seconds until the emcee ran up, grabbing the net to shake the ball free and through the hoop.

This video is mesmerizing and you'll probably feel tempted to watch it 20 times to try to figure out how he managed to defy every law of physics and every norm of basketball you've ever been taught. This seems completely impossible. A basketball weighs 22 ounces. Kevin's toss travels 40-plus feet in two seconds, meaning his throw is going roughly 13 miles per hour. Gravity hangs over all of this. Instead: thud followed by motionless silence. How is this possibly explained without Velcro, stick-em or magnets being involved?

The announcers on the video imply that Kevin was awarded his \$1,000, even though the shot didn't go directly in and even though he clearly stepped over the half-court line. Is \$1,000 sufficient for an act of magic? Think back to the days of messing around in middle school gym class. You could hit, what, 10 half-court shots in an hour on a good day if you just launched them over and over? You could be in middle school for 50 years and not get a ball to do what Kevin did. At least he can expect his shot to receive a million YouTube views as a consolation prize. The Hawks beat the Jazz 103-95, by the way, to improve to 21-14.