In yesterday's discussion of circus shots, I made the nearly unforgivable mistake of omitting Dr. J's incredible behind-the-backboard reverse layup from Game 4 of the 1980 NBA Finals. And unlike Jordan's hotdogging layup in the '91 Finals, the Doc's move was necessary to avoid Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*, who was lurking like a silent dreadnaught of ball-swatting fury under the basket.


* Kareem received both MVP and All-Defensive First Team honors during the 1979-80 season. He averaged 3.4 BPG.

[Thanks for the reminder, Josh.]

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11 Comments:
A Quarter of the fun of that play is that awesome Brent Musburger call, which I can still recite to this day, in my horrible Brent impression. :P

Of course, the other three fourths of the fun are that that shot is STILL one of the greatest basketball moves I have ever seen. Makes it more sad that the 76ers lost that series. Oh well, Dr. J got his ring later on.

Is that "Hot Rod" Hundley commentating at the end? I didn't know he was already doing games for CBS by then.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I really think that move is probably the greatest play I've ever seen. It was pure artistry and not in any way contrived (which, I think, is part of the reason I didn't originally include it; in my mind, it wasn't a true circus shot). Remember, that shot happened way before the Age of SportsCenter...and the 1980 Finals were even shown on tape delay. But regardless, Dr. J wasn't an ego-driven player, and his moves were innovative out of necessity, as opposed to innovation for the sake of self-aggrandizement, like the shots invented by many of today's players.

Good call, Josh. That was indeed Hot Rod calling the game alongside Musberger (who, although a lot of people have forgotten this, was probably one of the top two or three play-by-play men ever). Hundley provided the color commentary for the NBA Finals on CBS in '74 (alongside Rick Barry), '79 (again with Barry), and '80 (with Bill Russell).

Anonymous Josh said...
Oh yeah, the tape delays...I began watching AFTER the age of the tape delay (The 1986-1987 season was the first one where I followed closely. Before that would watch when I was bored, or if it was a big game.), and I hear it lasted well into the mid 80's.

Truer words have never been spoken. I honestly cannot sum up Dr. J better. Did he want to put on a show at some points? Sure, especially at All-Star Weekend. But was he selfish? Hell no. The fact that Erving made everyone better around him just proves that. He shared scoring duties with a LOT of players...Toney, Barkley, Malone, Dawkins and the others whose names have escaped me, all benefited from playing with him.

Thought it was Hot Rod. It's easy to recognize a voice like his. :) I hear he's not doing television work for the Jazz anymore, only radio.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yeah, Hot Rod is only doing radio now. But you know, he's pretty old, and it seems like a lot of the greats get sort of put out to pasture as they age. A similar thing happened to the late Johnny Most, who got yanked off the Celtics radio broadcasts but was given a pregame show for a while (until his health deteriorated to the point at which he couldn't handle even that workload).

Blogger Morgan said...
Dr J not only had one of the most beautiful games we have "seen " (in ESPN Classics and stuff like that ), also has the coolest nick name out there.. Dr J...so sweet

Anonymous Josh said...
Wow, never knew that about Johnny Most. I thought he retired. Well then again, that is SORT of "retiring"...

Seems like Chick Hearn was the only one protected from that idea.

Then again, don't Tommy and Bob Cousy call Celtic games with that other guy whose name has escaped me (I've heard him on TONS of highlight videos...) on NESN or FSN now?

Blogger Chris said...
Carmelo actually replicated that Dr. J shot this past season. And did a pretty good job. I couldnt find a clip sadly.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
chris -- No kidding? I didn't know Carmelo was athletic enough to pull that off. Was it during a game? You'd have thought that would have been big news.

Blogger Chris said...
it was in some meaningless game, and at the time I was a little surprised it didn't get more publicity. I only saw it once, and it's plausible that he didn't take off from as far out but it looked really similar. It was a nice shot.

Blogger Chris said...
ah, I went and found it at nba.com under carmelo's top 10 plays (it's #5). "Duplicate" is too strong a word, though he does pay homage to the Doc, best seen from the 1st camera angle.
http://www.nba.com/video/topten_archive.html

Blogger Basketbawful said...
That was a pretty sweet move by Carmelo...but still just a pale shadow of the greatness of the Doctor.

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