Wednesday, February 5, 2014

They're All Mine!

In an NBA playoff game against the Boston Celtics in April 1986, second-year pro Michael Jordan continued his ascension into rarefied air. Jordan soared that Sunday afternoon, and he forever remained in the stratosphere. In the first-round game, played in the old Boston Garden, Air Jordan set a playoff record by scoring 63 points in a double-overtime loss, going over, around and through the Celtics, the eventual NBA champions. Boston’s superstar, Larry Bird, grasping for superlatives after the game, described his opponent as “God disguised as Michael Jordan.” Question: How many of his 63 points did MJ score? This is not a trick question. The answer appears at the end of today’s post.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis plays basketball for the UConn women’s team. Football is not her sport, though today she needs a “quarter back.” The sentence pictured below, as written, implies that Mosqueda-Lewis didn’t score all of her points.

Does she have a surrogate scorer? Who is claiming ownership of those other eight points? Did a teammate on the far end of the bench, the one who gets almost no playing time, play the part of Mosqueda-Lewis while she was out of the game? Is that what’s meant by “role player”?

We’re missing a prepositional phrase after points. Some sort of illuminating qualifier is required. Did she score 24 of her 32 points...

… at the free-throw line?
… with her eyes closed?
… in a 10-minute span?
… under hypnosis?
… before picking up her fourth personal foul?
… while hopping on one leg?
… on 3-pointers?
… by bribing the officials?

None of the above. Mosqueda-Lewis scored 24 of her 32 points in the first half, but she scored 32 of her 32 points. Give credit — full credit — where credit is due.

In basketball terms, you could say Mosqueda-Lewis netted 32 points. You could also say she grossed 32 points. Any deductions made would be for taxing purposes — and would be considered gross negligence. That’s my point.

My point.

No one else’s.

Answer: All of them. Jordan scored 63 of his 63 points. Imagine that.

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