I live in Chicago and it always bothers me when people complain about the cold. It’s cold in Chicago. You knew that when you moved here. It’s ridiculous to complain about a given. It’s like going to China and complaining about all the communism.

I hate that. But I’m about to do it anyway. I just want you to know that I know that what I’m doing is ridiculous.

I watched the McDonald’s All-American game last night with one thought in mind, let’s just suffer through this mess to see how Cody looks.

I’ve seen very few AAU games, but I don’t think you need to see more than five minutes of one game to know the general idea which is, HEY! WATCH ME DUNK! So, I knew what I was getting myself into.


I’m not going to complain about how bad the basketball is, how no one plays any defense. Or offense. My complaint is slightly more nuanced than that, even though both of those things are true and bothersome.

But first, let’s take a trip back to when were kids in the gym. What the one thing we all wanted to be able to do?

The answer is simple. Every kid in every gym across the country tries to do one thing above all others. Dunk.

At first it was just who could touch the net.

Then who could slap the backboard.

Then who could grab the rim.

It wasn’t even important to be able to dunk honestly.

When I was in grade school we had goals along the side of the gym. The backboards were mounted straight to the wall. This is where parkour was invented. We would run up, jump, plant one foot on the wall, jump off the wall, propelling ourselves further into the air to dunk the ball.

When the guy down the street got an adjustable goal in his drive way, we would lower it to 8 ft and have dunk contests with all the kids in the neighborhood.

We just wanted to dunk. It was the coolest thing you could do on a basketball court.

But this wasn’t a game of 7th graders at St. Anthony School in Clarksville, IN. Or a neighborhood dunk contest on the 8 ft. goal. This was the McDonald’s All American game and the McDonald’s team has THE BEST BASKETBALL PLAYERS GRADUATING THIS YEAR.

One thing can be assumed. THEY CAN ALL DUNK!

I had a friend in college who knew a few card tricks. He would pull the deck out at parties and impress everyone with this skill. He got polite applause because he was the only one in the room who could do it. If he’d gone to a magician’s convention and did the same thing, there would have been crickets.

When everyone in the room can do the same thing, it ceases to be impressive and becomes commonplace.

Why then, did every player on the court spend the entire game trying to prove to me that they could dunk?

I know you can dunk. I’m not impressed.

I would have been impressed if you’d shown me a skill not everyone has.

Not everyone can pass out of a double team.

Or play help side defense.

Or pass fake.

Or shot fake.

I watched the whole game and I still don’t know who can do those things. But I know who can dunk!

And it’s almost April. Why the hell is it still so cold in Chicago?!?!?!

Jeff Taylor