Here’s to You, Big Fella|向篮球巨人敬礼


Big men—and the way we think of them—have changed a lot since the sport was invented in 1891. It wasn’t until the 1950s when 6’10” George Mikan2 proved that size is a huge advantage in basketball. Later, Bill Russell3, Wilt Chamberlain4, and Shaq O’Neal5 followed in Mikan’s oversized6 footsteps, overpowering7 opponents8 on both ends. These days, guys like Dwight Howard9 are continuing the tradition of the powerful big man.
Big men have a softer side, too. There’s Kareem Adbul-Jabbar’s10 sky hook, Hakeem Olajuwon’s11 fadeaway12, Tim Duncan’s13 midrange bank shots14, and Dirk Nowitzki’s15 three-pointers. The moves are different, but still effective.
Chamberlain once claimed that big men don’t get respect. “Nobody roots for16 Goliath17,” he said. Well, it’s time the giants get their due18.

“I was one of those kids who were always big. I was taller than my teacher in the fourth grade. In the sixth grade I was 6’4”. Every class picture growing up, it was like a pyramid. It was all of the kids and then me in the middle.
“Nowadays, if I’m on a commercial airplane, using the bathroom is an obstacle19. Every time I get in the bathroom, the stewardess will always go, ‘How’d you do that?’ But I’ve got it down to a science20. I’ve got to go in sideways21, bend all the way over sideways, and then twist around as I get in.”
“I remember one flight on one of those really small planes. I went to use the bathroom and I was like22, Oh, man23, there’s no sideways getting into this. I tried to back into it, and my head and the rest of my body was still outside of the bathroom. So they had to stop the plane from taking off. I got off, ran into the terminal24, used the bathroom, and ran back on the plane. Then I was just basically hoping I didn’t have to use the bathroom again.”
“Every day I meet somebody who asks, ‘How’s the air up there?’ Or just dumb jokes that they think it’s the first time I’ve ever heard them. Or they ask, ‘You play basketball?’ or ‘How tall are you?’ It’s like nonstop, all day. I’ve heard everything in the book25, and it’s not really amusing to me. I always just joke, or make light of26 it, because God has blessed me with height, and it just kind of27 comes with the territory28. When I saw [7’6”] Yao Ming for the first time, I was like, Oh, man. Since I was amazed by him, [I understand] why the average person is going to be amazed by seeing me.”

“The traditional big man is no more. We’re like dinosaurs. I really don’t believe that players nowadays want to play with their backs to the basket. You’ve got more guys growing up watching the tapes, wanting to dribble29 between their legs and bring the ball up the courts. You have more centers who want to do that, and not get down in the paint30 and get dirty31 and rebound32. Mind you, it’s great to have that type of versatility33. But the players who play with their backs to the basket are the ones who’ve been more successful in terms of winning rings34. Like Duncan. Yeah, he can face up and shoot that jump shot, and it’s a great dimension35 to his game. But when it comes down to it in the fourth quarter, he’s posting up36 and taking the ball with his back to the basket.”
Etan Thomas37 of the Washington Wizards has written a book of poetry called More than An Athlete. The following is an excerpt from one of the 6’10” center’s poems about what it would be like to live in a world where people accepted each other’s differences.
I wouldn’t be teased if I was different
I’d be embraced38 and my spirits would be lifted
Still seen as gifted even though I was talented in my own way
Everybody didn’t have to be the same

All of my teachers would actually care about me
Instead of giving up on me so easily
They wouldn’t be so quick to suspend39 me
But dig deep into my soul and revive my ability
They wouldn’t cast me away40 as if I had leprosy41
   I wouldn’t be perceived as a threat no matter what my size
Or see the contempt in their heart and the fear in their eyes
They would actually see me

☆Of the past 50 NBA champs, 41 had a center or power forward make the All-Star team during their title season.
☆Of the NBA’s 52 regular season MVP award winners, 39 were 6’9” or taller.
☆Six of the top seven career scoring leaders in NBA history are 6’9” or taller. The only one who isn’t: Michael Jordan (6’6”).
☆Seven of the eight players to win more than one NBA Finals MVP award were 6’9” or taller. The only one who wasn’t? You guessed it: M.J.



☆ 在过去50支获得总冠军的球队中,有41位中锋或者大前锋入选季后赛、全明星赛。
☆ 在NBA常规赛的52位最有价值球员中,39位身高在2米05以上。
☆ NBA历史上得分最高的7位球员中6个身高在2米05或更高,惟一的例外是迈克尔·乔丹,他身高是1米98。
☆ 在获得NBA总决赛最有价值球员的8名球员中,7个身高在2米05或更高。惟一例外是谁?你猜对了:迈克尔·乔丹。


1. fella 同 fellow
2. 乔治·迈肯,身高2.08米。6次获NBA总冠军,3次成为NBA最佳射手,2次成为NBA篮板王,是NBA历史上第一位真正的“超级巨星”。
3. 比尔·拉塞尔,身高2.06米。他是NBA的神奇盖帽专家。
4. 威尔特·张伯伦,身高2.16米。在他传奇式的职业生涯中,获得过2次NBA总冠军,7次成为NBA得分王,11次成为NBA篮板王。
5. 沙奎尔·奥尼尔,身高2.16米,现效力于菲尼克斯太阳队。
6. oversized  adj. 巨大的
7. overpower  v. 制服、压倒
8. opponent  n. 对手
9. 德怀特·霍华德,身高2.11米。大前锋,现效力于奥兰多魔术队。
10. 卡里姆·阿卜杜尔·贾巴尔,身高2.18米。其“天钩”雅号闻名全球。
11. 哈基姆·奥拉朱旺,身高2.13米。中锋,曾效力于休斯敦火箭队。
12. fadeaway  n. 后仰跳投
13. 蒂姆·邓肯,身高2.13米。大前锋,现效力于圣安东尼奥马刺队。
14. bank shot 擦板球
15. 德克·诺维茨基,身高2.13米。现效力于达拉斯小牛队。
16. root for sb. 为…鼓气,全力支持
17. Goliath 葛利亚,圣经中被大卫杀死的巨人。
18. due  n. 应得的东西
19. obstacle  n. 障碍
20. science  n. 技巧
21. sideways  adv. 侧着身子
22. “and I was like” 或者 “And so I was like”,美国口语,意思是 And so I said.
23. man 啊,呀,用作表示强烈感情的感叹词。
24. terminal  n. (火车、公共汽车等的)终点站,总站
25. I have heard everything in the book. 惯用表达法,什么样的话我都听说过。
26. make light of 轻视;忽略
27. kind of 有些,有点
28. come with the territory 是难免碰到的事情
29. dribble  v. 运球
30. paint [peint] n. 三秒区
31. dirty adj. 狂风暴雨的;粗暴的
32. rebound  v. 抢篮板
33. versatility  n. 多才多艺,多样性
34. win rings 获得总冠军戒指
35. dimension  n. 因素
36. post up 持球球员背对篮框单吃对方
37. 伊坦·托马斯,华盛顿奇才队中锋,身高2.08米。
38. embrace  v. 欣然接受
39. suspend  v. 暂令某人停学
40. cast away 抛弃
41. leprosy  n. 麻风病