Or… Old Man Yells at Cloud
Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns scored 70 points against the Boston Celtics on Friday night becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to reach the 70 point plateau. However, Devin Booker did not deserve 70 points. I get that this take seems like an old man yelling at clouds, but instead of enjoying an otherwise wonderful game, the last handful of minutes turned into a mockery. Booker had 42 points through three quarters and 52 points at the under five mark of the fourth. From the 4:02 mark on, only one shot by the Suns was taken by somebody not named Booker and the Suns committed three fouls in the final minute to try and jack up his point total. Booker had a fantastic game, but his 70 point total was a sham. With that thought in mind, here are the three biggest manufactured moments in sports.
3) Nykesha Sales Becomes All-Time Points Leader
Nykesha Sales averaged 20.9 points per game her senior season with the UConn Women’s basketball team. Entering her final home game of the season, she was 28 points behind Kerry Bascom for most career points. However, after scoring 20 points in the first half and seven more in the second, she ruptured her left achilles tendon, leaving her one shy of the record. Undeterred, Head Coach Geno Auriemma felt Sales deserved the record and called up both the head coach for his next opponent (Villanova’s Harry Perretta) and the Big East commissioner (Mike Tranghese) to see if they could come up with a way to get Sales the record.
Sure enough they did. At the start of the Villanova game, Sales hobbled onto the court and Villanova allowed Sales to score an uncontested layup to break the record. Sales then left the game, ending her career with was at that time the all time UConn women’s point record. The passage of time has alleviated the controversy surrounding this story somewhat because Sales is now fifth all time, but what gets forgotten is that this was not Sales’ idea.
The sole motivator behind this idea was Auriemma. As the story goes, Sales had to actually ask her mom if this was an acceptable thing to do and her mom’s response was “no, you’re all right (without the record).” The situation could have ended there, but Auriemma’s rebuttal was also one that held water; he wanted to do it as a way of saying thanks for everything Sales had done for the program. So Sales took the court in the next game and broke the record, ending her career one point ahead of Kerry Bascom… who now sits in sixth all time for the lady Huskies.
2) B.K. Kim Serves Up a Whopper
The 2001 All-Star Game at Seattle’s SafeCo field was one of the best ever because it was the final midsummer’s classic for Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. The fans in Seattle were going crazy all throughout the pregame festivities and got even more amped up right before first pitch when that “classy classy man Alex Rodriguez” compelled Ripken to switch positions with him so Cal could move to his more traditional position of short (yes, that was so far back in the past that “classy man” and “Alex Rodriguez” could be said without an ounce of insincerity).
Baseball fans though would be treated to something even more special to begin the third inning. With Byung-Hyun Kim, the Arizona Diamondbacks reliever, out on the mound in the bottom of the third inning, Ripken stepped to the plate to begin the frame and scorched the first pitch he saw out over the left field wall for a solo blast. Cal Ripken Jr. had hit a home run in his final All-Star game.
But look at that pitch again. B.K. Kim, in the midst of his only all-star season…. a man who had some of the filthiest stuff in baseball that season… throws a first pitch fastball right down the pipe. A 92 mile an hour two seamer that starts off outer half and tails just perfectly so as to dissect the plate, ending just about two inches below the belt. Fewer pitches have been meatier in the history of baseball. None have been as delectable in the All-Star game. Did B.K. Kim, known in 2001 for his nasty two-seamers and devilish frisby slider serve up a whopper to Cal in his final All-Star game? Maybe not… but then again…
1) “Roll-Out & Get Sacked By Michael Strahan on Two on Two, Break!”
Normally friendships do not evolve between lions and antelopes. When one is the prey and one is the predator, it is usually fairly difficult to produce warm and fuzzy feelings. However, that is exactly what happened between quarterback Brett Favre and Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. That friendship was put to the test in the 2001 season (apparently this was a time where everyone loved everybody… “ELE!!!”).
Mark Gastineau set the record for sacks in a season in 1984 with 22. Thanks to a massive 3.5 sacks in his Week 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Strahan entered his Week 17 contest versus the Packers needing just one sack to set the single season record. However, Strahan was shut down for most of the game until, ummmm, miraculously… he broke the record.
Far be it from me, a New England Patriot fan, to accuse a New York Giant player of doing something dubious and underhanded. But this sack… might be the worst sack of all time. And yet, this is the sack that has Strahan as the sole owner of the single season sack record. Instead of Gastineau at the of the list with such pulverizing players like Jarred Allen and Justin Houston, those three guys have to look up at Strahan because of that… sack.
Those are my top three biggest manufactured moments. What are yours? Gordie Howe suiting up for the Detroit Vipers? Ricki Davis attempts triple double by shooting at own hoop? Send me some of your suggestions on twitter @JacobDonnelly31