Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
So, sort of like important birthdays or anniversaries sneak up on you (not that I've ever missed one of those), the 25th anniversary of Jerome Lane's shattering dunk against Providence did just that. Not only was I caught off-guard by the date, but the fact that it's the 25th anniversary is kind of a big deal, too.
Okay, so here it is:
Jerome Lane Breaks the Backboard with a Poster Slam (via vaLTmac101604)
I've always been curious as to what Sean Miller thought of the play. He was just leading the break thinking it would be just another routine assist when he made the pass and, I'm sure, was just hoping Lane would finish. But this week, the Times actually ran a pretty cool Q&A with Miller breaking it down.
Then there was the iconic call by Bill Raftery. The New York Times ran their own retrospective with some quotes from Raftery and Jerome.
Now we all love it, but one person who's probably at least a little bit tired of hearing about it? His son, a football recruit:
"You could say I hear about it every day," said the younger Lane, who attended Sunday's Rivals/VTO Sports Elite 100 camp near Pittsburgh. "I get the questions all the time. 'Are you the son of Jerome Lane?' When I say yes, it's always 'The Jerome Lane who shattered the backboard?' I get that a lot."
His son also finds it a bit ironic that his father is apparently out of hops ... and his dad doesn't disagree.
"He can't jump over a piece of paper these days," he said, laughing. "I think the last time I saw him even play basketball was 5 years ago. He coached me last year, but he didn't try to show off any of his moves or anything. He's too big and too old now."
"My son is gonna hurt my feelings talking like that," Jerome Sr. laughed. "He's right. You try dunking with 70 more pounds on you at 45 years old. Back in my day I could dunk with the best of them, but my son is the athlete now and in a different sport. I still challenge him though, I still tell him to break one himself if he thinks it was so lucky. He hasn't yet and he never will. I have that on him at least."
The unfortunate thing is that, as he says in the article, the dunk really overshadowed his career. He was leading the nation in rebounding and was a first-round NBA pick. But when you think of him, the dunk's the first thing to come to mind.
Definitely just a cool play and it's great for Pitt to get a little bit of added recognition when it comes up every year. I don't know - you might find this hard to believe, but I don't remember it when I was growing up. Heck, I wasn't even a teenager yet. My only thoughts at the time were watching guys like J.R. Reid and Rick Fox at North Carolina and bugging my parents for a Nintendo, which I finally got a few months later (I add parenthetically that finishing Mike Tyson's Punchout as a ten-year old is probably still one of the great feats of my life). Other than that? Yeah, no clue what was going on.
All of that said, when you consider the fact that the game was on national TV as Miller said when not a ton of games were on, pretty cool.