I love basketball because my dad loves basketball. I was saturated with it from the jump.
Once, when I was 11 or 12, we were at my Mema and Pepa’s house watching a Celtics-Lakers game from the 80’s on ESPN Classic. It was Thanksgiving. Me, Dad, Uncle Chris, and Pepa, are all sprawled out on our respective Dude Man chairs and couches watching Bird and Magic duel. The Parker men are doing their due diligence as far as basketball education is concerned, filling me in on Bird and Magic and the sky hook and how McHale had a menu of post moves that would rival Baskin Robbins’ menu of ice cream choices.
Then my dad pointed at the television to show me Dennis Johnson.
“That’s DJ, Ty,” he said, “DJ never missed a shot in the playoffs.”
I’m young at this point, but I’m still aware enough to know that’s probably ridiculous, and told dad as much, but for the rest of that game, every single shot he put up, DJ made. My uncle and my Pepa ran with it, co-signing the ridiculous fake stat and it was sealed as fact in my mind.
Dennis Johnson never missed a shot in the playoffs.
I went on believing for a few years that was true. Mind you, I’m a moron at this point. I’d have told you Hey Dude was the best show on television and Mighty Ducks 2 was the greatest movie ever. I know now the answers to those questions are, respectively, FridayNight Lights and Lonesome Dove, but that’s because I’m wiiiiiise. But, at this point, I’m certainly completely dumb enough to hold firm to the idea that a guard who played 180 games in the playoffs would not ever miss a shot.
Lunch room discussions in middle school would turn into all out wars when I’d speak this supposed truth and my friends, because they knew about ball, would tell me that was crazy.
One day I give in a little less than usual and call them all dorks or idiots or whatever middle schoolers that watch too much Disney Channel say and bet them that I’m right. Five bucks, I say.
To the internet!
I’m bout to settle this ridiculous fight.
I google “Dennis Johnson’s playoff shooting percentage.”
I click on the top hit.
I scroll down.
Pay the man.
Why I didn’t Google it before I don’t know. It was probably because my dad told it to me and, at that point in my life, info given by my dad was The Bible, basically. I forgot that dads like to have fun.
I wrote this quickly, but that’s because the memory was easy because you don’t let go of the good ones. Happy Day After Father’s Day to all the dads, especially the one who rebounded for me on that slanted driveway on Oakmont Drive for all those years, chasing basketballs down the hill so I could shoot another that’d wind up in the same spot.