Thursday, March 14, 2013
Something terrible happened to Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. I could try to explain, but it’s best if you just take a look at the video after the jump.
That’s Knight in the blue #7 jersey, working his way onto the bedroom walls of thousands of young Clippers fans across the country. Rightly, the dunk was the talk of all the internets that evening and the following day. DeAndre Jordan’s throwdown was absolutely vicious, but unfortunately, a substantial amount of ridicule was directed at Knight for being the posteree in this basketball drama. I had a different reaction. While he did get eviscerated (there’s no mistaking that – he even got called for the foul), Knight’s effort was laudable - not laughable - for three reasons.
Head – it was smart basketball. Knight saw Greg Monroe get beat, leaving Jordan with a clear path to the lane. He slid in from the weakside to challenge the shot and then…well, that happened. Regardless of the outcome, Knight made the right basketball play.
Heart – Knight is still playing with pride. The Pistons are down by 19 with four minutes left to go in the first half. They are on pace to lose by almost forty points (in the end they manage to keep the margin to only 32). Other teams and other players may have found it ok to write the night off and start thinking about tomorrow. Brandon Knight kept playing.
Guts – this is the part that impresses me the most. Knight gives up 8 inches and 76 pounds on this play. I’m sure he didn’t stop and do the calculus in his head, but I’ll bet he at least thought some variation of “damn this dude is huge” during the course of the play. Of course, he skied for the ball anyways. He lost badly but that’s ok: it’s part of the game. A minor leaguer can take Justin Verlander deep and a college kid can throw down over LeBron James. It happens to everyone and regardless of how many clever .gifs you see, it’s no reason to bury Brandon Knight.