Originally published in SLAM 50

The lane opened wide like a ________, and Shawn Marion made his move. After a short college career that involved winning every junior college accolade imaginable at Vincennes University and a do-everything season at UNLV, the ________ Marion was selected 9th overall by the Suns in the ‘99 NBA Draft. Able to leap tall ________ in a single ________, the 6-7 Marion was everything that Jason Kidd had ever wanted in a running mate. A ________ dream come true.

But back to the matter at hand. As Marion rocketed down the lane like a ________ing ________, his ________ ‘fro blowing like a ________, Al Harrington made his ________ decision.

Harrington had been waiting for this moment his whole life—well, not to be ________ on like a ________—but to get some real playing time. An all-everything player at St. Patrick’s High in ________ Jersey, the 6-9 Harrington ________ chose to skip college to enter the ‘98 NBA Draft, where he was selected 25th overall by the Pacers. He also chose to step in the way of the ________ ________ wearing No. 31, a ________ choice at best.

So, Marion ________, Harrington in the way, Chris Dudley standing to one side ________ing his ________. Harrington stepped up, safely outside of the dotted circle, preparing to take the Battier. Except he forgot that Marion can jump like a ________ after a whole ________ of ________. Marion rose like a ________, left Harrington grounded, and posterized him like a ________ ________. Dudley ________. Kidd ________. Even Penny Hardaway ________ so hard, he put himself right back on the ________ list.

Bottom line: Marion finished with a career-high 27 points. The Suns won by eight. And Harrington? He got ________.

Russ Bengtson