Tuesday, November 24, 2015
LARRY NANCE JR Feature-LIKE FATHER, LIKE DUNK
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Looking up to the glow that is his father, junior can't help but be in awe as his eyes attempt to scale the height of the television he see's before him. The V.H.S. is rewound to an NBA Classic and Larry Nance senior is taking the human highlight film of Dominique Wilkins, the good doctor of Julius Erving and the first ever NBA Slam Dunk contest by windmill storm. So much so whether you're someone as big as Michael Jordan or even Kobe Bryant you can't help but take inspiration from the first NBA player in history to win this now storied and epic contest back in 1984. Especially if you're Larry Nance Jr, the former NBA players son watching on tape delay as a young boy at a contest more than a decade and change in the making before he was born, becoming the new proudest thing Larry Nance had done. Rising like the Phoenix he was, Nance reduced the competition of the likes of Showtime Laker Michael Cooper, Portland Trail Blazer, Clyde 'The Glyde' Drexler, Dr. J and Nique to ashes even when he was still in his warm ups (we see your inspiration Kobe). No sweat, his combo of one, armed, outstretched windmills and tomahawks flying had the whole basketball world in a spin, years before the wheel turned and a lack of originality ruined the most creative of contests when it came to the freewheeling All-Star weekend. 'The High-Ayatolla of Slamola' deserved every 50, before the voice of the 'Got Talent' like panel came in to former champion, years after play. Before all that he was American's above the rim idol. Bar the free and high sock stance of the fun and entertaining ABA contest, the three time All-Star and Cavalier, whose 16 and 8 career average was great enough to have his number 22 raised higher than his hops to the Cleveland rafters, made his weekend in 1984 his living, lasting legacy of legend. One that still continues to this day. In more ways than one...or being the first and foremost.
The legendary and legacy line of father and son, family ties in this league is as storied as the NBA or the Walton's (Bill and Luke to be family tree traceable) themselves. We all know about the Barry's, the Dell and Steph Curry's (not to mention brother Seth and the rest of the ball playing family that like most court holding families extends to the womens league and probably one day, postgame superstar Riley Curry). His teammate Klay Thompson and his dad Mychael of the Lakers and the fact that Los Angeles Clippers head Doc Rivers coaches his son Austin like this chapter was written in the stars by the basketball gods themselves. But there's much more than meets the fathers eyes when it comes to father time. I mean did you even forget about Kobe's pops, Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant? Or speaking of that, George Karl's son Coby who also had some underrated time with the Lakers that should have birthed more? There's the Bibby's...Henry and Mike. Horace Grant's brother Harvey and his sons Jerami and Jerian Grant. Norm and Brian Cook. Tito Horford and Al Horford, Ed Manning and Danny Manning. And even the first Basketball superstar George Mikan and his son Larry. Or more recently John and David Stockton. And that isn't even the half of it. We haven't even got to the players named after players. Ron and Ronnie Brewer who where both Bulls in Chicago. Larry Drew and Larry Drew II. Rich and Richard Dumas. Or how about even the slight change of LeRoy Ellis and LeRon Ellis? Mike Dunleavy Sr and junior. Walter Szczerbiak and Wally Szczerbiak and Glenn Robinson Jr and Glenn Robinson the third. And more big guns today. Patrick Ewing and Patrick Ewing Jr. Glen Rice and his Junior. Tim Hardaway. And of course the legend of Larry.
Nance Jr rocking the Lakers number 7 like the great Lamar Odom is a swingman like no other, who I guarantee you'll see this mid-February in Toronto for the All-Star weekend, one way or another the city needs his heat. Sure this late first rounder could be a steal like the similarly slept on sophomore Jordan Clarkson and he could join the Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell, young, hopeful future of the Lake Show in the rookie/sophomore duel. His energy, hustle and what he brings to the game on both sides of the floor, like rebounding, not to mention his genes can afford and assimilate that. He's already the off the pine, microwave time, hustle and lay-up line flow, spark plug the Lakers have sorely missed since guys like Von Wafer, Shannon Brown, Devin Ebanks and Trevor Ariza. And thats just the tip of a very cold iceberg. But aside from that this kid has to be a dead cert for the Slam Dunk contest and not just because of his pops, who is now wearing a Laker cap in support like he never thought he would after all that 80's blow-out Showtime, Sun heartache. But because of that preseason dunk against the champion Golden State Warriors that caught the cool and crisp Hawaii air and so much more so that it may even be the dunk of the year...and it wasn't even officially recorded this season. The elevation, the pause for breath in the middle of air, the hammer, the nail in the games coffin and then the Jordan-esque shrug. I don't know that could be it. But then again did you catch the one he caught against the Pistons going full throttle to the hole with aggression, but the air-time, cruise control he displayed as he butterfly floated to the net before he stung like an Ali bee. It almost looked angelic in those Sunday Whites. Or how about everything else to come? Just like his alley-oop, lay-up against Orlando, it's all magic. Now you know he can enter the ring and knock everyone else out, round for round in the ultimate bell-ringing contest with the tricks of his, 'now you see me, now you're a poster trade'. Like Larry Jr said, "it'd be fun". Like Larry Senior says of his boy; "he's playing hard", adding that his son at the young age of 22 already understands the game better than he did. Now Nance wants to take it one step further with his family legacy and have little Larry continue his dunking legend in the Slam contest, if not this year but one day. He'll be watching with pride, like son, like father, but this time from courtside whilst everyone else will be watching on T.V. Like father, like dunk! “He was going to put me in a wheelchair, roll me out under the basket and slam dunk on top of me,” senior told Lakers.com about junior. Father time is about to get a real facial.