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TOYS AND GAMES: The Art of the Jump Shot

Kenny Sailors turned 95 last week. Why is that significant?

Well, he the Thomas Edison of basketball, bringing the light bulb to the sport: The jump shot.

Sailors, who stood less than 6-foot, learned the shot to help him battle his 6-foot-5 brother in one-on-one games.

Here’s to you Mr. Sailors. Imagine how dull the game would be with only set shots and running one-handers.

And…

Speaking of jump shots.

Is there any college basketball player as fun to watch as Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield? The 6-foot-4 Bahamian, who was last season’s Big 12 Player of the Year, has as pure a jump shot as I’ve seen in some time. But careful if you spend too much time trying to stop his outside game, he’ll blow right past you toward the hop. If you haven’t seen him play, tune in the Sooners the next time they’re on TV.

Ironically, Oklahoma just grabbed the No. 1 spot in the rankings then lost on the road to Iowa State Monday night. Hield scored 28 points.

Finally, any mention of jump shots prompts me to dust off a quote from former NBA great Otis Birdsong: “There are three sure things in life. Death, taxes and my jump shot.”

To this day, Birdsong remains the best high school basketball player I’ve seen play when he led Winter Haven to a state championship in 1973.

bchastain19@gmail.com

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Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bobby Ross. The former college and pro football coach led Georgia Tech to a share of the national championship in 1990 and later led the San Diego Chargers

©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography