A long, long time ago in a galaxy right here, I wrote my first words for SLAM. It was a Hype piece on Shawn Bradley for issue No. 6, which I turned in at an overenthusiastic 350 words or so. Then the issue came out, and I couldn’t find it. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but it was really small. Postage-stamp small. Probably about 75 words, laid out underneath a photo of the 7-6 beanstalk lying flat on the ground. It was, needless to say, not complimentary. Funny, though—I went on to interview him later, and he was great. Guess he couldn’t find it either.
And the reason for that incredibly personal retrospective? Well, one of the lines I wrote that stayed in was something along the lines of Bradley’s one day becoming a prop in a Dunk Contest. And damned if I wasn’t pretty much right about that. Posterizing S.Dot has become almost a rite of passage for NBA ballers; Tracy McGrady had done it before, but maybe not with such intensity and malicious intent.
And Shawn? Well, his Mavs came back from 2-0 down to win the series—and if you had to pick one player who’s appeared in the most rim-destroying NBA action photos, it might very well be Shawn Bradley. So maybe he gets the last laugh—even if it is at his own expense.