Alonzo Mourning’s relentless defensive mentality sometimes led to unfortunate, life-threatening scenarios like this one, but when he had a split-second to decide between “I could turn the other way and save myself all potential embarrassment or stand my ground and potentially save two points,” he always chose the latter answer.
Getting dunked on puts you on the wrong end of SportsCenter Top 10. It puts you on the shameful side of 1 million YouTube hits. It sometimes leads to your last name being part of a new verb, such as, “Damn, that son-of-a-bitch got Mozgov’d,” or a trending topic, such as, “#KendrickPerkins.”
But a shot-blocker doesn’t get my stamp of approval unless he’s willing to get dunked on at any moment. Greg Stiemsma chooses to protect his basket regardless of the chances that he might become the latest poster and the brunt of everyone’s jokes on Facebook and Twitter. He shrugs off the chances of infamy because he would rather have a chance to stop a bucket.
Bill Russell, Stiemsma is not. But a 6-foot-11 shot-blocking menace with the right attitude, surprisingly nice touch on his mid-range jumper and a willingness to suit up every night even when he needs to leave the arena in a walking boot, can play for me any day.