I don’t know about you, but I have been having basketball dreams. Which led to this email exchange with friend, all-around good guy and power forward Daniel:
From me: “I am starting to dream about hoops. Last night I was in a gym just shooting jumpers. Felt great, until I woke up.”
From Daniel: “I have been dreaming about hoops too! I cut to the basket, after setting my usual big screen, I am powerful in my pivot to the hole, and catch and drop-step towards the hoop! I forcefully but gracefully banked it home, off the glass . . . it was amazing!
“Hoop dreams, hopefully a reality soon on the court!”
From me: “Your dreaming description reminded me of something I wrote when Danny Green was making every three he took, this after Game 5 in the 2013 Finals.
“I have had nights where I shot like Green. Everything I throw up, from whatever distance, hits nothing but net. My teammates recognize I am on fire, and hit me with perfect passes. Like Green, my footwork is perfect, I catch the ball with both feet already set, so I can immediately rise, release, perfect back spin, swish.
“Of course, then I wake up. Green hasn’t woken up yet.”
Danny Green went 25 for 38 from three in those first five games in 2013. Which doesn’t match my memory of those games. I don’t remember him missing any. If you want to get in the right shooting mind-set before your next game (whenever that is), just watch this compilation of DG’s 25 makes. Note how often the announcer uses his full name — ”Dannygreen!!” as if it were one word.
When Daniel and I had that email exchange, I hadn’t played basketball since the Sunday of the week that Rudy Gobert was diagnosed. That diagnosis shut down the NBA, the NCAA and high school hoops. It also shut down my weekly Thursday night game — which is why I will always remember the Gobert announcement happening on a Wednesday.
Shortly thereafter, my community closed down all the outdoor hoops. An understandable move, since players were still out there playing 3-on-3 half-court, or 5-on-5 full, and it’s impossible to social distance while playing a team game. Unfortunately, shutting down the hoops also affected people like me, who just want to go out and get some shots up, helping preserve some sanity — and perhaps removing the need to get my hoops fix through dreams.
Luckily, I just located an outdoor hoop which is not shut down, just off a bike path. And this hoop allows this shooter to ride his bike to the court in the early morning, basketball tucked under the front of my shirt (making me looking like an odd pregnant man). But once I arrive, I can pull the ball out from under my shirt and shoot — alone. Me, the ball and the hoop.
Quick dribble to my right, rise, release, perfect back spin, swish. Just like in my dreams.
I barely minded that the hoop has a Clippers logo on it.