In the year-plus following the Oklahoma City Thunder's trade of James Harden to the Houston Rockets, the franchise has drawn criticism for not taking the measures necessary to build a perennial championship-quality team. Yet, no matter your opinion of the team's future, there is no argument against Chesapeake Energy Arena's serving as home to at least one current NBA dynasty.
I speak, naturally, of Thunder fans' remarkable ability to win $20,000 off halfcourt shots with shocking regularity. Since the beginning of last March, three Thunder fans have hit these shots to help pay for a wife's cancer treatment, in a manner that compelled Kevin Durant to tackle the shooter, and prior to a rout-clinching run in a playoff game (which couldn't possibly have been a coincidence, because halfcourt shots are magic).
We can now add Cameron Rodriguez to this illustrious list of clutch performers. In the first half of the Thunder's eventual 115-113 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, Rodriguez, donning a backwards hat to ensure a full range of vision, drained his attempt, got a giant hug from team mascot Rumble the Bison, and presumably got angry when he learned the $20,000 prize was a pre-tax figure.
At first glance, this shot is not quite as dramatic as the three examples noted above, if only because it didn't involve a loved one's medical hardship, one of the two best players in basketball, or a playoff win. While the Thunder did eventually win a close game via comeback, their push didn't occur until the fourth quarter. For that matter, the last few possessions of this game were borderline unwatchable, with both teams executing poorly, Russell Westbrook giving the Nuggets a narrow chance of sending the game to overtime with a foul on an inbounds pass well above his and Ty Lawson's head, and several interminable replay reviews pushing fans' attention spans to their limits.
Rodriguez won't care about all that, of course, because he just made a lot of money for a few seconds of work. We should also remember, though, that the accomplishments of a historically great team are not all equally amazing. When a group achieves a large number of positive things, a few are bound to be simply great and not mind-bendingly delightful. Every dynasty needs its Cameron Rodriguezes.
(Video via Beyond the Buzzer)
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Houston Rockets
- James Harden