From the Basketball Diary
This was the first in many years I didn't watch a single NBA game on TV until the finals, and then only parts of the last three. There's nothing much to watch---not when I've got old tapes of Michael Jordan and those Bulls teams, the Lakers of Shaq and Kobe championships, and even some of the Magic Johnson Lakers. So from time to time I watch them.
But I can't turn off the writer completely, so I do wonder what those announcers are talking about. If you know anything about the game, you know that some of what seems like dumb redundancy really isn't, like "He's got speed and quickness." They really are two different things. Speed means running fast: foot speed. Quickness means reflexes and all kinds of movement--lateral, up and down. It takes quick feet to play tight defense, quick hands to strip the ball or change the shot. You get the idea.
But then there are other habitual expressions that always bother me... The one that comes to mind is "shot attempt." Certain announcers are always talking about shot attempts. How many shot attempts. What I wonder is the difference between a shot attempt and a shot?
A made shot is a score. He shoots, he scores. Not---he executes a shot attempt, the attempt is successful, the shot is off, and it fulfills the requirements of the rules such that two points ensue.
They really should ask me about these things.