- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Doug Christie is cutting loose with a primal scream after converting a layup against Greg Ostertag late in the game.
Christie, of the Kings, is beside himself. He appears to be going into labor. He apparently is about to become the first man ever to give birth.
This is crazy. This is too much.
Christie seemingly has succumbed to a series of alarming issues because of a layup. Maybe he needs to talk to someone, a professional. Maybe he was dropped on his head as an infant. Maybe he needs a hug, reassurance, his special blanket as a child.
Life is frightening enough, and in this one moment, after making a layup, Christie is trying to deal with that awful truth. He is screaming, breathing rapidly. It is horrible. Call Homeland Security.
It can't be the excitement of a layup. He can't be that much of a clown. Anyone can make a layup. Even the players in the WNBA sometimes can make a layup. You can go to any gym in America and find a bunch of has-beens or never-weres who can make a layup.
Christie is in the NBA, being paid good money to play a game. Making a layup is the least of his obligations. He also is expected to be able to put the ball through the orange cylinder from a considerable distance. This takes a lot of practice, a certain skill, and a segment of the population admires this skill. It is pretty neat.
But a layup is what it is. Players from both teams form two lines before a game and convert an incredibly high percentage of layups. It is no big deal. It is nothing special. Most of the players almost stretch to the 10-foot rim anyway. If there were no such game called basketball, most of these poor souls probably would have complexes about their unnatural height, and the rest of America would be encouraged to be sympathetic toward them.
Fortunately, there is a game for the ridiculously tall, and it is a good game, although not the game it was in the '80s, when you had the ever-talented Lakers and Celtics going against each other, making a sweet kind of music.
Players make a routine layup nowadays and have a violent seizure. Their bodies twitch all over, their eyes roll into the back of their heads, and the team trainer rushes to the court with an oxygen tank. The announcers report the stunning development to viewers, which is: He made a layup, and hopefully, the trainer will be able to revive him.
Some observers call this passion. A few see it as a waste of good testosterone and energy, an annoying bunch of nonsense.
Michael Jordan hits a shot to win the game, and then he lets you know the deal. You see, the deal is done. You are finished. See you later.
Chris Webber completes a dunk shot in the first quarter of a game, and then he grabs a top hat and cane and does a soft-shoe number down the court. He also makes all these peculiar-looking faces, as if he is trying to cope with a severe case of hemorrhoids. He possibly could use more fiber in his diet. That could help his condition. We all wish him the best.
It seems many of the players in the NBA have this insatiable need to know they are special, somehow important. Perhaps their histrionics after a mundane sequence in a game are nothing more than a child-like plea to be noticed, validated.
If so, America can help.
America to those NBA players who are foaming at the mouth after a layup, in the clutches of spastic paralysis: You are somebody. Hear us loud and clear. You are special. You are a human being. Here, accept this pat on the head, and keep hope alive.
Of course, celebrations are a normal human response to a task that has been successfully completed. The neighbor down the street sets off fireworks and pumps his fist in the air after he has mowed the front lawn, which requires about as much hand-eye coordination as making a layup.
One layup in a 48-minute game is one layup, barely anything, and in this case, not essential to the outcome of the game and the series.
Now if it is all right with Christie, can we resume the game?
Thank you. America appreciates it.
And next time, try to have a clue. Better yet, act as if you have made a layup in the past.

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