Tonight is All-Star Saturday night. While the Slam Dunk CONTEST (Not just “Slam Dunk”…(75 word rant on this- Redacted)) is the big draw for many, I’m partial to the 3 Point Shootout. To me, dunks are fun and all, but the 3 point shootout a much truer display of real basketball skills. You need form, concentration, athleticism, clutch-i-ness, and elite hand-eye skills.
Trust me, I know, I’ve won two of them.
Victory #1- St Ray’s CYO
The first victory was back in West Medord, ’91. As a member of the Bulldogs, the future Le Cap was at best a second or third scoring option…playing a point-forward role. I was a glue guy, there to do what I could for the team, and try to keep Christian from T’ing out of every game. But when All- Star Saturday night came along, I knew it could be my time to shine.
I entered both the layup contest and the 3 point shootout…we won’t talk about the layup contest. Let’s just say, it didn’t go well. Shout out to Christian for dunking off my back- and starting the “teammates” trend now seen in the NBA contest.
When it came time for the shoot-out, I was a steep underdog. Kevin Ellis was the favorite, and the rest of us were playing for second. Well, with dozens of fans in the gym and tens more watching live (recorded) on Channel 3, Ellis and I battled back and forth in a classic final round showdown. Ultimately, I proved to the be the better man that night, taking down the chalk…and the first of my Shootout Trophies.
Unfortunately, it may have cost the Bulldogs a title. Ollie lost all of his shoveling money- he found a guy in West Medford Square taking action, and put it all on Ellis- and though we didn’t fuly realize it at the time, it may have caused a rift in the locker room (aka: the back hallway by the water bubbler). We ended up losing in the finals.
Victory #2- The ‘Ship on the Ship
In Feb ’96, a 16 year old Le Cap was enjoying some fun in the sun aboard a beautiful Norwegian Cruise Lines Southern Caribbean cruise. Among the highlights of the week were the picturesque beaches of Aruba and the Virgin Islands, and befriending the cruise “celebrity” and San Diego Chargers’ TE, Alfred “Al” Pupunu.
When I say “befriended” I really mean it. This guy was on his honeymoon, and he and his wife hung out with us at the dance club and in the lounge, we sang karaoke together, even had us come by their room to meet up before heading out for the night. There was another celeb on the cruise too…Nick Lowery. He was a dick. But Al was the man. Truly one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.
That is, until we squared off on the SHIP-WIDE 3-point shootout. All of a sudden, Al’s competitive streak came out. There were no more smiles, no high fives…this meant business.
Well, as it turns out, going up against a professional athlete was really no different than going up against Ellis years before. I dug down deep into the well, and managed to battle my way to victory, besting the field of 16…including my man Al.
Here’s a post-shootout photo op:
Winning one was special, but winning the second is a different thing altogether. All of a sudden, you’re thinking in terms of your legacy. Any chump can have a lucky stroke one night, but you repeat it, and you’ve legitimized everything. To this day, my cousin and former college baller “Big D”, maintains that I’ve got skills, and the two trophies are a big part of that.
So remember Hi-Toppers, as you watch the festivities tonight, it may be entertainment for you, but for these guys, it’s their Legacy. Take it from me.