Then watch this.
Truth be told, if you played basketball more than once in your life (or still play), something like both of these plays happened to you. Whether it was during your days as an intramural all-star or back on the monkey bars before your growth spurt, you were on the receiving end of some embarrassing dunks and crossovers.
And while there’s a good chance you’ve returned the favor once before, there was no way in hell that you managed to have avoided becoming part of a neighborhood's or gym’s proverbial highlight package.
Because such inevitability is part of the game, it seems that it would be only fair to ask the question: Would you rather get hit with a lethal crossover or become someone’s YouTube clip because of an earth-shattering dunk?
Before you go ahead and stick with the first choice that came to mind, consider the elements of both before you make a final decision.
The Crossover: Great athleticism, sheer pride or both have you defending the one player on the court with the best handle you’ve seen in a long time. There’s nothing terribly fancy or excessive about it, unlike half the guys you play against that rather carry the ball than actually move it quickly. She (yep, she) calls for the isolation from nearly halfcourt, knowing damn well you’re sizing her up. All but one of her teammates part the perimeter sea, and it’s on. You start defending at mid-crouch because while you know she’s going to go right, you want to give yourself the chance to push her left.
She keeps the ball almost parallel to her right foot, but it’s close enough where you think you can pick her pocket. A step back, and you halfheartedly reach for the ball just to jolt the rhythm a bit. She takes another step back, and you already failed.
With a little more space now between you and her, you get a little cocky and shake yourself loose out of the defensive stance. She’s kind enough to let you reposition, but you decide to crouch lower and hold your shorts at the knees as some note that you’re serious.
She doesn’t switch hands until a quick behind-the-back dribble, but she re-gathers with the right. You actually reach this time, but it was a half-second behind after she switched to the left hand. You take a step back with your right foot but suddenly she feigns a stutter-step. You try to get that left foot parallel, and BOOM, she got you. Three low and quick dribbles at shin level – left-to-right, right to-left, left-back-to-right – and you buckled. Your foamposites get scuffed, you’re falling backwards, and she buries a three for good measure.
No one mourns for you. Everyone just laughs.
The Dunk: It’s late in a close game of 4-on-4, and everything is getting a little more intense. A few extra elbows are thrown in the post, and no one’s backing down. Guys are setting double screens, and suddenly you find yourself without someone to defend … for about four seconds.
The guy who has the rock has been dunking on people since he was 6’1” in the seventh grade. He used to throw down on people in college, even though it was in garbage time because he was a 12th man on a really good team back in the day. Now, he’s going to catch up to the glory days he never really had on campus.
You’ve been fighting off screens for the last 10 minutes in this game, and you’re getting tired. Your shot’s still going in, but you’re losing your legs because you’ve been working more on defense than expected. It’s been a long day, there are no substitutes, and there isn’t enough Gatorade. Crap.
You moved behind one attempted pick near the rim, and you’re now standing in the key. Our former high school all-star, now at about 6’6”, sees there’s not much else between him and the basket except this sweat-drenched, poorly postured guy.
This is not your moment.
He goes full steam ahead as you begin to make your way towards him. His first three steps are Usain Bolt strides off the block. At the foul line, he picks up his dribble as you think of channeling your inner Dikembe Mutumbo. One more step, and he’s got the ball cradled behind him with his right arm.
He pushes himself upward, arm fully extended behind him and looking like a catapult about to fire. You should be moving out of the way. You should be moving out of the way. YOU SHOULD BE MOVING OUT OF THE WAY!
You jumped, too.
Unless you’re Dhalsim from Street Fighter, your arms are too short to box with God and equally too short to jam this guy at the rim. At mid-air, both of you meet rather violently. His arm and the ball are now over your head. His forward motion is destroying yours.
He’s Vince Carter; you’re Alonzo Mourning.
Now, you may choose. Would you rather get crossed up or dunked on?
Jason is the editor-in-chief here at TSFJ. In addition to a past life as a research analyst in advertising, television and online media, he spent seven seasons as the New York Beacon's beat writer for the New York Giants. Jason has written for Yardbarker, Dime Magazine, Decider, Awful Announcing and The Week. He is also a member of his high school's 4th period gym class floor hockey champions.