A couple of days ago, I was watching Mario's three-pointer for like the 150th time, and I decided to do it JFK/Zapruder style. Click. Sherron blows by Derrick Rose. Click. Click. Click. Sherron begins to fall. Click. The ball emerges in Mario's hands, he takes a big jump-step toward the top of the key, jumps, fades. Derrick Rose leaps. Ball leaves Mario's hand. Arc-ing, arc-ing. Swish. (Rewind). Swish. (Rewind). Swish. I felt like Kevin Costner in JFK: Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left.
An obscured leaping figure
As I stepped through the swish multiple times, I saw something I hadn't seen before, a sort of puff of smoke on the grassy knoll. There's a leaping figure behind the backboard, at the very far end of the Kansas bench. Just after Mario's shot goes through, the players on the bench appear to be in disbelief, but a black clad figure at the end of the bench suddenly springs up, spinning, arms flailing. I think that this was pretty close to my reaction as well.
You can kinda see a black blur behind the backboard in this YouTube clip, but it's much more clearly viewed in high-definition about two feet from your TV screen.Fast-forward to the post-game celebration, and it becomes clear that the figure is none other than former Kansas backup point guard and current video assistant, Brett Ballard. Awesome. I was always a Ballard fan because he's a Kansas kid, from Hutchison. [Here's a nice Kansan profile of Ballard.] Now he'll always be the visual record of my own reaction to Mario's shot.