The Unsung Heroes of Posterization
Here's a harsh fact of life: Whoever posterizes a defender with a thunderous dunk gets all the credit.
He not only gets to be showcased over and over again on ESPN's Top Ten plays, he very may well get an actual poster out of it. And technical fouls aside, he also gets the right to mock whomever tried to step in and impede his highlight in waiting.
Lebron James did some posterizing himself Friday night when the Miami Heat took the court to play the Sacramento Kings. James, a freak of nature, came barrelling down the court like a freight train, took flight, and threw down a monstrous jam over Ben McLemore.
It was, without a doubt, a spectacular dunk that was Top Ten worthy. James even offered his sentiments post-game when he was quoted as saying, "Sucks that it was him, too" and "I like him."
Taking a different approach, I applaud the effort of Ben McLemore and those who step in and courageously put their bodies on the line while in the act of being posterized. These guys deserve more credit for what they do, because frankly, they're trying, although as futile as it may seem, to block a shot, take a charge, induce a turnover, or simply play solid defense.
I don't think these efforts should go unnoticed. Although the dunk itself will always get the glitz and glamor, coaches, teammates, and fans should acknowledge the fact that the defender was doing what he was taught to do, namely, defend whoever has the ball. You shouldn't be ridiculed for doing your job, but unfortunately, being posterized isn't fun or fair for the defender.
From my own personal experience, I recall rushing downcourt to defend one of our top high school basketball players in a pickup game. I wasn't athletic by any means, but I took pride in defense and I wasn't going to let him get by with an easy two-handed jam. As he took flight, so did I, which only ended badly on my end. I was posterized and then laughed at for my effort. The other players were even wondering why I would defend such a phenomenal athlete. My response was, "It's my duty to play defense regardless of whom I defend."
I feel as though more glitz than grittiness is revered because everyone looks for a highlight instead of a hustle play that doesn't garner much recognition. Although I get the entertainment value, I think the hustle and defensive effort that was exerted should equally be recognized.
Unfortunately, that's the unfair part of sports. Everyone would rather talk about Blake Griffin's earth-shattering dunks than Shane Battier's suffocating defense and ability to provide his team with extra possessions through his extraordinary hustle. However, no one seems to realize that if it weren't for Battier's countless efforts to create turnovers, then highlights wouldn't be as frequent for the Miami Heat.
Due to the show-biz nature of basketball, the 'unsung hero' will never get his just desserts, but I certainly recognize his effort and I applaud anyone willing to defend a posterization on the brink of deployment.