When I was a little kid, I wasn’t a huge NBA fan. Like most boys growing up in the 90’s, I liked MJ, and I liked Space Jam, but that was about the extent of my NBA knowledge. None of my immediate family was into basketball, and none of my friends were either, so, for example, I barely realized that the Bucks even existed. One year, I watched a Jazz-Bulls Finals game because I hit it while channel surfing. Otherwise I didn’t even watch the games.
The one thing that I loved more than anything at that time, though, was half-court shots and buzzer-beaters. There was a VHS tape at the local Hollywood Video which was titled something like “Basketball’s Most Exciting Moments”. It had a segment that featured nothing but half- or -full-court buzzer-beaters. I even managed to locate it on YouTube, and I promise you this isn’t a Rickroll: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_bMFBE8SoM .
I watched that VHS so many times, and, of course, like any kid, I imagined that it was me hitting the half-court shot to win the championship or whatever. Whenever I got to Hollywood Video and that VHS was checked out, I would be seriously disappointed.
That’s all a bunch of pointless exposition to get to the main point here: I still get a giddy, childlike excitement when I see a player attempt a half-court heave, and I get even more excited when the shot actually goes in. It’s better than a poster dunk or a guy hitting a turnaround three to get his fiftieth point. The long, impossible shots are my favorite basketball play and I don’t think it will ever stop being that way.
I think I watched Ross hit his half-court shot against the Raptors at least ten times. Each time, I watched different people on the court react. His teammates, his coaches, his opponents, the fans, the refs, I watched them all. And then I watched the shot a few more times just for fun. The Magic didn’t even win this game despite Ross’ heroic shot to end the half, but that doesn’t matter to me.