The Loose Ball Dive | Wizards Blog Truth About

The Loose Ball Dive

Updated: March 11, 2011

Pictures of flying NBA players and a couple stories about them…

{Kevin Garnett sends Cartier Martin flying}

{John Wall hovers to save a ball}

{Joakim Noah doing Joakim Noah things}

{John Wall flies for a loose ball}

Fans love the basketball player who dives on the floor for a loose ball. In high school and college, the act surely fits in with how many romanticize the blue-collar work ethic thought to be prevalent on those levels — slap the floor, play zone defense, pass the ball for as much as the 35 second shot clock allows, dive for loose balls. In the NBA? Not so much, or so goes the stereotype.

Hence, the guy who lays out for a loose ball in the NBA is appreciated even more by fans of the game. Why? Because it’s mostly unexpected. Because there’s more money involved. Because risking injury for a single possession can cost both individuals and teams financial considerations. But the benefit can be much greater, and that’s why fans love ‘that’ guy.

Sure, part of the reason for such love is due to ‘that’ guy usually specializing in ‘those’ things … the hustle plays. He is a role player and fans often love hustling role players no matter what (unless you have a cold heart and hate Michael Ruffin because of his stats … or because of that thing that happened versus Toronto that time). When someone from slightly to largely more integral than a role player risks bruises and floor burns from diving on the hardwood, it’s a bonus.

A dive for a loose ball can often be meaningless. The body is laid out in such a vulnerable position that the chance to rotate, contort and force the ball back into legal play is far less. And we’re not talking about those such as John Wall with ridiculous speed that often has him trying to put on the breaks while jumping over front row fans or baseline photographers at the same time.

Diving for loose balls… they do it in the NBA, college fans, and Mo Evans of the Washington Wizards is one of ‘those’ guys. On Tuesday versus the Bucks, Mo made quite the intelligent diving save. Let’s watch:

MORE… JaVale vs. Joakim

A curious event occurred when the Chicago Bulls were last in town. Joakim Noah had post position with the ball on offense versus JaVale McGee, but with McGee’s shot-blocking presence, Noah hesitated. Eventually he decided to attempt a right-handed hook shot over JaVale, but by then his timing, concentration and confidence was off. Noah shot an airball, credit due to the  young Mr. McGee. However…

That airball surprised the two players in such a manner that when it landed in-bounds, not yet going out-of-bounds, both paused for a second, baffled, before deciding that the ball was waiting to be possessed by someone. McGee’s pursuit of the loose ball was a little guarded, perhaps because he knew it had last touched Noah’s hand and he just assumed the possession would soon belong to Washington. Meanwhile, Noah did what he does, which is yield a high-percentage of effort and lay out to go after the ball.

The framed photographic capture of the event below shows that Noah’s save attempt might have glanced off McGee’s right leg, but the ref ultimately made a correct call in that the ball landed out of bounds off Noah first. A Bulls fan might be thinking: ‘Hasn’t Noah missed a lot of time this season due to surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament? Why is he doing this?’

Because not doing it would make Noah someone other than himself. Because he conducts his game with boundless disregard for his body, and that’s why fans like him. Because this type of attitude can be infectious to winning teams. Because a lot of Wizards players could use the same type of attitude and heart that Noah conveys.

{Love how Andray Blatche was practically on the other end of the court while the play was still being decided.}

John Wall saves ball, smells like beer.

A Cartier Affair.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.