Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch
cbertsch

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Without Bias

It's not a day I enjoy commemorating -- I explained my own memories here, in my second LJ entry ever -- but I'm glad that Scoop Jackson took the time to do so. Although I enjoy his way of piling it on most of the time, it feels especially right today:
Bias had already torched the entire Tar Heel squad for about 30, but he still needed to make a statement.

The game was close. UNC still had a chance.

After making the net swallow another one of his jump shots, instead of running downcourt to play D, LB U-turned and stole the inbound pass. You could hear Dean Smith's heart break.

Len went up in the lane to seal Carolina's fate, but it was what he did after the dunk that transformed everything.

It was called "the Jesus dunk." And beyond being a religious experience, it was a biblical re-enactment with the beauty that Mel Gibson missed.

The dunk was a reverse, you see. And as Bias released his hands from the rim, he extended his arms … out … while still in the air … as if he were on a cross … as if he were Christ.

While 10 feet above the ground he seemed to float back down to the court, arms still out, palms still open. It was like he descended down to earth from heaven, from above the rim. The second it took for his feet to touch the court seemed more than one second in time. It seemed slower than slow motion, it seemed as if he was letting the world know his destiny, who he was destined to be.
I just now realized that, having just graduated from high school myself, Bias's imminent departure for the world of the NBA resonated for me on a deeper level. Only a week before, I'd been on the Senior Trip to Ocean City, watching everyone party like tomorrow would be worse than today. I wonder if that's what he felt, despite the lucrative career awaiting him.

I still think about you, Len. You were in my mind when I was doing things I shouldn't have. More importantly, though, you were in my mind when I decided not to do things I shouldn't have been doing. I'm sure that a lot of other people have had the same experience. Thank you for that. And for all those soaring reverse slams, which seemed almost mundane when you were on the court, but have since disappeared from the game.
Tags: nostalgia, sports
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