Hoop Porn

If you're not familiar with Anthony Bourdain's Food Porn concept, he essentially parallels his passion for decadent food with other, more prurient interests.  It's a natural comparison that easily extends to the world of spectator sports.  As Bourdain explains, we're talking about "the vicarious enjoyment of people doing things on screen...that you yourself are not likely to be doing any time soon."

Today, we're going to talk about moments in basketball that are so exciting, so thoroughly thrilling that one may even begin to feel a small measure of guilt.  These moments can encompass single plays or entire games.  The only criteria is that they bring a special kind of joy into one's life.

Last night was tough.  Our vaunted defense wasn't enough to stop Dirk and friends from doing a little bragging of their own.  The offense was stagnant, and the preseason answers at point guard reverted back into regular season questions.  I think we've earned the right to be a little self-indulgent.  I'll share some of my favorite hoop porn moments, and ask you for yours.

 

 

This sequence was much ballyhooed last season, but like any indulgence it's easy to come back to.  I wanted to make this piece about more than just blocks and dunks, and this sequence is far more than just a block.  This clip is great, not just for the money shot (though, it's a fantastic money shot!), but for the set up to the shot.  Wallace could have easily raced ahead of his opponent, but he didn't.  He trailed the ball handler like a jungle cat stalking his prey.  He destroyed O.J. Mayo in spectacular fashion and helped the team maintain an edge in the closing seconds of a close game. 

Everyone else played their part as well.  Diaw takes away the middle of the lane, steering Mayo into Gerald's reach.  Felton trails the play, grabbing the loose ball and drawing a foul.  These are minor elements that didn't require much skill per se, but they add to the perfection of the moment.

I feel a little self-conscious about making such an obvious choice here.  This block, and the story behind it, are nothing new to most of us.  But the body wants what it wants.  Being decadent isn't always about finding new pleasures.  Sometimes it's about reveling in an old favorite. 

I'll leave you with one more for good measure.  I was in high school when this play took place.  The NBA sucked that year (due to a lock out for half the season), and the Knicks took it upon themselves to make things interesting again.  Forget that I'm a life long Larry Johnson fan.  Forget that this play helped propel a scrappy 8th seed into the NBA finals.  This is a thing of beauty because you essentially see a defender bite on a pump fake when LJ's standing about 8 feet behind the 3pt line.  He then drives around his man to pick up the foul AND hit the shot to tie the game.  Finish with the game winning free throw and you have pure hoop lust.

Now it's your turn.  Join in the fun and tell us about some of your not so guilty hoop pleasures.

 

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