The NBA full-court shot is so extraordinarily rare that even with the clock running out and nothing to lose, players often would rather save themselves the embarrassment and the slight erosion of their stat lines. When they do bother to try, they might miss by six inches, or they might miss by 40 feet, but they almost always miss.
This episode of Pretty Good is about Baron Davis, who buried the longest bucket in NBA history, and the sad rabble of players who have failed in the 16-year wake of his historic 89-foot shot.
Some big thanks are in order: first, to Basketball-Reference.com and its Play Index, without which I would never have been able to find long-distance shot data. Second, to Jordan Brand, who let me stomp around on the court at Terminal 23 and chuck a bunch of 89-footers like a total goofus. Third, to SB Nation executive editor Elena Bergeron, NBA desk writer Kristian Winfield, and staff writer Tyler Tynes for coming along and ensuring that I wouldn’t look like a total goofus all by myself.
Here are some other episodes of Pretty Good, a show about stories that are pretty good:
EPISODE 10: 222-0.
The story of the worst clobbering in the history of college football. 222-0 isn’t just a score, it’s an act of malice.
EPISODE 9: THE 1904 ST. LOUIS OLYMPIC MARATHON.
Rat poison. Liquor. Near-death. Wild dogs. This was the worst Olympic event of all time. Actually, I’ll go out on a limb and say that this was one of the dumbest things of any kind that has ever happened.
EPISODE 8: “WHY DO I CHOOSE THIS FOR A LIVING?”
This episode is dedicated to the spectacle of grown adults completely melting down and losing their cookies at the poker table.
EPISODE 7: “I WISH EVERYONE ELSE WAS DEAD.”
The show 24 was Jack Bauer’s personal hell. The America in which he lived was a cathedral of death worship and ceaseless ruination of everything good. Nothing was worth saving. Wheeee!
EPISODE 6: THE DUMBEST BOY ALIVE.
This is peak drama: Some guys on a bodybuilding message board argue endlessly over how many days are in a week. It goes on and on and on and on and on.
EPISODE 5: “NO!!!!!!”
In a sense, I guess, this is the football version of the Baron Davis episode. The difference is that this story ends with things going horribly, catastrophically wrong.