Michael shot the ball towards the hoop and missed again. His father laughed and Michael hung his head.
“You keep tossing up those bricks son, and you’ll always be picked last for the team. I’ll show you one more time and then I want you to practice, practice, practice.”
“OK, Dad.” The young man replied. He knew his father was trying to help.
“Look here and pay attention.” Mr. Jordan held the ball with both hands at about waist level. “Keep your feet about shoulder width apart, and put your shooting foot just a little bit in front of the other one. Bend your knees, it’s important to bend your knees.”
Young Michael watched his father and emulated his movements; a tiny shadow standing on the driveway flexing his knees. He held the ball about waist high, his dad had told him that was the shot pocket and that was where the shooting motion should begin. He crouched a little lower, sprang up on his toes, into the air and flailed as he launched another brick in the general direction of the basket. His dad went and fetched the ball before it rolled all the way down the driveway to the street.
“That’s better son but keep your palm off the ball. Control it with your finger tips and thumb. Your touch should be light and gentle. One last thing, keep your elbow in close. The elbow on your shooting arm should be below the ball not pointing at the kitchen window.”
“OK, Dad. Sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry Mike. You’re learning. No one’s born knowing how to shoot. This is something you have to learn.”
Mike nodded his head and looked at his father, who raised himself to his toes and effortlessly launched the ball towards the basket – Swoosh, nothing but net.
As Michael retrieved the ball his dad told him to practice, “I’m gonna go drink my iced tea on the porch. I’ll watch you practice from there. You got this son. I know you can do it.”