The Craftsman


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“I made 119/200 three’s today before I left for soccer.”

(Pause)

“You counted?  How old are you?”

I will be 42 next Saturday.  I play pick up three days a week, and Friday my loaded team went 2-1 when the only acceptable result was 3-0 in large part because I shot poorly.  I was mad at myself.  I expect, nay demand more of myself so on Saturday morning I was at Moss Park shooting.  As I shot, I thought of something I heard my friend tell his team at practice last Wednesday.

“Make 65% of your unguarded jump shots before I will give you the green light to shoot one in a game.  It is your craft.  Work on your craft.”

I made 60 of my first 100, and 59 of my next on a crooked rim in stifling heat to a chorus of crickets chirping.  I failed to get my green light, but I worked on my craft and the shots came out of my hand so much more comfortably than during Friday’s fiasco.

It is in some sense fashionable to refer to shooting as a lost art.  It isn’t lost.  It is there, ever available to anyone willing to work on it.  It is a singular skill that every player has complete control over their level of mastery.  It is, as the NBA finals have shown us, a game, and legacy, changer. 

Game one was sealed with Tony Parker’s bank shot at the end of the shot clock.  Despite the preceding chaos, the release and angle off the glass, an impeccably executed exercise of practiced muscle memory.  

Game two’s decisive moments were defined by Lebron’s passing and the spot up shooting of Mike Miller and Ray Allen.  Game three,  of course, featured Danny Green and Gary Neal hitting 13 of 19 threes.  Game four turned as much by the Heat’s improved midrange shooting as their imperious defense.

It is difficult to fathom someone referring to themself as a basketball player when they haven’t honed the craft of shooting.   They are mislabled and without excuse as the mirror is where they will find this perpetrator of crimes against the game.

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This morning I counted my shots.  75 makes in 100 attempts.   GREEN LIGHT!

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