If Lovin' Jeff Hornacek is Wrong, Then I Don't Want to Be Right

Brothers and sisters, thank you for joining us here at the Fundamentalist Church. Following the service we’ll have a luncheon in the courtyard featuring Ms. Pittman’s delicious string bean casserole, but before our final hymn, I have some very important words for you.

I’ve long hoped never to deliver this sermon, but this All-Star Weekend, an evil that constantly threatens to undermine the tenets of the Game will bare its ugly face yet again. As you all know, Quentin Richardson, possessor of deviant two-handed jump shot form, will attempt to win his second consecutive Three-Point Shoot-Out.

Over the years, we Fundamentalists have seen treasured elements of our beloved Game erode. Basketball’s glory days have long since passed; never again may we revel in the beauty of a crisp bounce pass or a judicious close-out. I ask you all, fair congregants, who is more likely to be drafted, John Paxon Jr., or another untutored and unwashed behemoth who learned his basketball from a Playstation controller and by dunking on bent rims with chain nets?

Yet despite all of the moral degradation our game has experienced over the years, the jump shot was the one cherished institution that had remained untouched by the grubby hands of “progress.” We lament how lay-ups have hideously morphed into “dunk shots” and point guards spend more time trying to “fracture ankles” than execute solid entry passes; players today seem to spend more time smoking “the marijuana” and listening to “the rap music” than focusing on boxing out and denying the ball. However, through all of that Godless degradation, the jump shot remained unchanged. We were comforted that, during those tumultuous times, there was only one acceptable jump shot technique, as written clearly in the Gospel of Dr. Sure Shot.

“And Buzz Bramen said to his disciples, ‘Thou shalt form a 90 degree angle with thine shooting arm, hold thine off-hand perfectly still, and follow through so that thine wrist takes the shape of the neck of a goose.’”

For years, proper-shooting marksmen like Mark Price, Steve Kerr, Dale Ellis, and Craig Hodges won the Three-Point Shoot-Out and demonstrated to America, that one cherished institution of the Game could not be perverted. Those were good years for our land and our Game; Regan was President.

But last year, tragedy struck the purity of the jump shot. Quentin Richardson, called “Q-Dog” by the heretics, won the Three-Point Shoot-Out. In Galatians 1:6-7, the Bible tells us that Satan builds a false church to distort the gospel; in 2005, Satan struck again, broadcasting to all the notion that two-handed jump shooting is acceptable in the eyes of the Game. Fundamentalists know better; in the eyes of the Game, Quentin is a sinner and the last morally unadulterated vestige of our beloved Game depends upon our preventing him from winning again.

Over the past year, there has been much excitement in this country over loosening the requirements for properly upholding this sacred institution. These “progressives” say that how you shoot doesn’t matter, that the ball need only go through the rim. They shout that everyone deserves the right to shoot, no matter their preferred choice of technique. I am here to tell you these are simply lies spewed from the mouth of the Devil himself. While Richardson’s first victory amounted to a test of our faith, a second victory would be the harbinger for the end of the Game as we know it. Dark clouds will descend upon the heavens, blood will rain from the sky, lions will give birth in the street.

Quite simply, in the eyes of the Game, there is only one true, acceptable, and natural way to shoot a basketball. This technique maximizes shot arc and minimizes the motions our body must commit to muscle memory. It accommodates our bodies’ unique construction and is a natural extension of the Game’s designs for us. To shoot any other way is unnatural, and therefore a sin against nature and the Game itself. As long as we as human beings have shot this way, points have been fruitful and multiplied. A proliferation of shooting styles put the game in peril and threatens to bring scoring to halt altogether.

If we condone Richardson’s two-handed technique, proponents any of number of hideous shooting permutations will cry for acceptance. If one man can shoot with two hands, what will prevent someone from shooting with his feet, or dare I say, with his doodle? If we were to unmask those who truly advocate for accepting all shooting techniques, we would simply find a select group of perverts who want nothing more than to shoot in ways even the sickest minds cannot begin to imagine.

And as always, we must consider the impact that all this will have on the children. In an age where morals have progressively loosened or disintegrated, it is the children who have suffered most of all. Sadly, today’s juveniles are shooting three pointers at younger and younger ages. If our impressionable youth come to think they can not only shoot where they want, but also how they want, then the Game faces damaged beyond repair and we may as well resign ourselves to following soccer.

We don’t have much time, but I urge all Fundamentalists to write Commissioner Stern and urge him not to allow Richardson into the Three-Point Shoot-Out. We simply cannot allow the Game to be corrupted further and I urge you to motivate your Fundamentalists brethren to make themselves heard.

But we also have an obligation to reach out to all those with improper form. We must remind them that Fundamentals is the true path to the Game. For the two-handed shooters, the temptation to shoot unnaturally will never fully disappear, but we may guide them to refrain from further damaging the Game.

So for Fundamentalists, this is the time to rise up and protect our sacred shooting form and wipe the tarnish from our treasured institution. No less than the health and the sanctity of the Game depend on it.


At 2/08/2006 11:46 AM, Blogger BenSchwarmer said...

I always thought Marion had the worst jumper in the Association. My life changed forever when I went to a preseason game where my Blazers took on Atlanta. First, my mind blown by the revelation that Al Harrington tucks his warmups in for the entire pre-game ritual, something that transcends the definition of "style" as I know it. I might that expect from Duncan or Ratliff, but Big Al?
Second, I was absolutely stunned by the jumper of one Josh Childress. The best way I can describe his J is that it looks like he is trying to win a spot as a setter on the US Volleyball team...but he has two dislocated elbows.

At 2/08/2006 11:53 AM, Anonymous T. said...

And to think Hank Lusetti was vilified for introducing the one-handed jumper into basketball . . .

Am I the only one who watches Micheal Redd and thinks "that's an awful jumper?" Like Alex English once said "one-piece". Michael Redd has an ugly catapult action.

At 2/08/2006 11:59 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

big bad gerald wallace has a really unpleasantly literal one, like he doesn't understand that shooting is different from scoring or winging it under the basket. at least marion's is defiant like "fuck you, i know this is shooting, i know you're supposed to have complex mechanics to make it work but i made up my own fucked-up version!"

At 2/08/2006 12:36 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

One of the most horrific things I've ever witnessed is a Marcus Camby jumpshot. There may not be a more aesthetically unpleasing sight in the universe.


At 2/08/2006 12:40 PM, Blogger emynd said...

Yeah, Marion's shot is so ugly it shocks me every single time he shoots. As soon as he releases it my heart skips a beat and I think "There's no possible way that's going in" and, more often than not, it does. It looks like he releases it as soon as the ball is parallel with his waist and, what's more, it looks like he releases it accidentally--like someone scared him and the ball just sort've accidentally floated out of his hands with a high arc.

This was a remarkable post, by the way Burns. Hilarious and astute.

I wonder why a bigger deal wasn't made about Reggie Miller's lack of traditional mechanics. I know people have made some comments about it, but also commentators and what not seem to agree that he has a pretty solid release--which is blasphemy. His shot is bar none of the least technically sound shots I've ever seen. I wonder if folks just sort've blinded themselves to the fact that his shot was so funny because he spoke standard english so well.

In a completely unrelated story, Reggie Miller has the worst NBA tat ever on his back.


At 2/08/2006 12:50 PM, Blogger c-los said...

One thing that I have learned over the years by watching the League is that form is over-rated. To me its all about consistency. If you the same way every time your shot will be better off. Its the only way that explains why guys like Reggie, Redd, Michael Adams, and even Bird were such good shooters. I think if you repeat the same motion over and over again and practice it, the shots will drop. I love Marion's shot. It's like everything else he does. He is the only player Ive ever seen with that kind of explosiveness/akwardness to his game. It's like his body is only comprised of fast-twitched muscles. He must have been really akward growing up when he was fine-tuning his special power. He is a true X-men. A real life mutant.

At 2/08/2006 1:01 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

did you see the thing in the NYT special sports mag this weekend (i think it was called "PLAY") on just how much fast-twitch muscle there is to marion?

At 2/08/2006 1:30 PM, Anonymous TZ said...

Kevin Martin has the Hideo Nomo of NBA jumpshots. Slow, nasty windup, but a good follow-up and quick reset.

Kenneth Thomas also reaches back too much to be pretty. But the idiosyncracy I hate most about KT is how he hops every time he catches a pass. The catch-and-shoot becomes the hop-catch-land-pullback-shoot. Highly infuriating.

At 2/08/2006 1:35 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

for my money, no one pushed the aesthetics of form quite like Bill Cartwright at the line. highly accurate, but with the geometric efficiency of a rube goldberg machine.

At 2/08/2006 4:04 PM, Blogger beatdowney said...

i have fond memories of learning to shoot. some coaches used great imagery by saying things like "pretend you're in a telephone booth with no roof" (put arc on your shot) and "throw your wrist into the basket" (follow through). other coaches would expose themselves as fundamentally unsound players saying "use your non-shooting hand as a guide" when really, its just to keep the ball on your shooting hand.

an important thing i learned was quick release. having feet and legs ready, always, and getting the ball from torso to shooting position quick enough to launch one over the charging 6'6" 15 year old monster was so crucial to my young ego. i may have missed a lot of shots, but i rarely had them blocked.

but is quick release widely valued? seems like guys in the league, with the excpetions of Redd and Ray Allen, really seem to take their time.

At 2/08/2006 4:53 PM, Anonymous T. said...

As a short (5'7"), slow jump shooter, let me tell you about the advangtage of having a quick release. I don't have one, and it's very difficult for me to get a shot off when I'm being defended - without my forehead saying Spalding later.

At 2/08/2006 4:56 PM, Anonymous aug said...

Redd and Allen can release it really quick off the screen or pass. I don't know where the rumor that they don't have a quick release came from. Redick's quick shooting over defenders makes me wish i had hours to spend shooting everyday. It's so beautiful. Bad form comes a lot from young kids trying to shoot out of their range. I always tell the kids i coach, that if you can't shoot the shot the same as you do a close shot, you have no business taking it. I try to get the kids to work on their form at home. The two hand shot is easy to see coming because of extra complications in the form, usually lower and easier to block. I get goosebumps everytime i see marion take that shot. He's just lucky he never has to create his own jumpshot, because it doesn't work. Anyone who watched him try to shoot jumpers pre-nash knows what i'm talking about. It only works for him because in that offense you only need to stand there and wait for nash/diaw to hit you.

At 2/08/2006 6:27 PM, Anonymous ryan b said...

The player that always surprised me the most with his (former) accuracy despite an ugly-ass shot is Pedja. The man shoots right handed, but from the left side of his head.

At 2/08/2006 7:44 PM, Anonymous Michael Olowakandi said...

I believe I'm the only one in the NBA with a beautiful reverse hook shot.

At 2/09/2006 3:23 PM, Blogger S-Love said...

I think Redd's jumper looks ugly because it's left handed. All left handed shooting seems awkward.

Players talk about Childress' jump shot. It has the advantage of freezing up the defense because they can't tell right away if he's shooting or passing.

If you took photos of some of these guys (Miller, etc.), it would probably show that they have perfect form when it needs to be perfect. The idiosyncracy is nice when it's not too aesthetically objectionable.

At 2/09/2006 3:58 PM, Anonymous T. said...

I think Redd's jumper looks ugly because it's left handed. All left handed shooting seems awkward.

I'm left-handed. . . and so is Chris Mullin. (I actually shoot from the Damon Stoudimire school of the put your left hand way out in front) - so I'm not sure that this is it. I'd give 2 years of my life for Chris Mullin's jump shot. Redd has a two-piece motion - first he brings it up and back, and then second he slings it forward. It's quick and it goes in a lot, so it's difficult to criticize. But it's not athetically pleasing.

Miller's got a bad chicken wing, then his hands cross on the follow-through. Certainly not what I was taught at basketball camp.

At 3/17/2006 12:35 PM, Anonymous Dell Curry said...

Sure I was one dimensional
But my sweet shot was transcendentional
Didn't care about other skills
Only had to shoot to pay my bills
Didn't go in among the trees
Rather lay back and rain threes
The rock left my hand in a hurry
yeah that's right I'm Dell Curry

Cha ching


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