Motivize, Pulverize and Realize

Dear readers, I’m sorry I didn’t offer up any sorta NBA playoffs preview or predictions this year. I didn’t watch much hoops during the season, although a couple of the playoff series were pretty entertaining.

Anyway, to make up for it, I offer you a pair of basketball-specific links.

First, here’s J.A. Adande’s examination of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s signature shot, the Skyhook. It’s a pretty entertaining piece, once it gets past the iconic nature of the shot and gets into the mechanics of it and how Kareem refined it to the point where he was dropping in Skyhooks from 12-15 feet out.

I really enjoyed the video that accompanies the piece, especially because I noticed something I never picked up on when I watched Kareem as a kid (even in Airplane!): he always gathered up the ball in both hands around waist-level before taking the shot. Now I’m trying to figure out if:

a) he had small hands and couldn’t palm the ball off the dribble and go straight into the hook,

b) there was some benefit to using two hands to control the ball,

c) it was actually a vulnerability, rendering him susceptible to getting stripped of the ball (a vulnerability nullified by the fact that a second defender trying to get at the ball would literally have to be on the opposite side of the main defender).

Anyway, if you’re a hoops aficionado, I bet you’ll enjoy the article and the video. (And you’ll probably make fun of Kareem in the comments section of this post.)

* * *

And that brings me to . . . Leroy Smith.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been seeing bizarrely cheesy 80’s-looking tower ads about a motivational speaker named Leroy Smith on I never clicked through them until this week, when I realized that the big black guy with the funny balding pattern looked weirdly familiar.

I clicked on one of the ads, and discovered that Leroy Smith is . . . none other than the man who beat out Michael Jordan for the last spot on the varsity basketball team back in high school, inspiring Jordan to become the greatest basketball player of all time! (Okay, it’s actually Charlie Murphy, the man who beat Rick James’ ass multiple times.)

I don’t consider myself a target for viral ads, but this has to be one of the funniest campaigns ever. Hoops fan or not, you NEED to go to this site, watch the videos, and experience the full splendor of Leroy Smith and his Motivizing tools. I’ve even signed his petition — he wants to get into the Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Jordan — and downloaded his iMotivator app for my iPhone.

Daddy wants his keys back!


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