California has experienced an epic drought that has affected all of us, but if you are a fan of the Golden State Warriors, it is raining threes. The ultimate “El Nino” and bringer of long distance precipitation is Steph Curry, who is reinventing Dr. Naismith’s game outside the arc. His sidekick, the Prince of Karmic Kool Klay Thompson, will go down in the annals of long range bombing for his 37-point quarter against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 23, 2015 and many other shots from another zip code.
The pair are lighting up nets like never before. Their combined 544 made 3-pointers with 15 games remaining this year is an all-time NBA record for teammates.
When the Cagey Canadian Dr. James Naismith invented the game in 1891, all you heard was the kerplop of a leather ball in a peach basket. Shortly thereafter, due to many shattered peach baskets, metal nets were substituted with closed ends so players had to fish the balls out. It wasn’t until 1912 that open-ended fabric nets were approved for use in high school and college play.
The first recorded use of the term "swish" is believed to have come from the written words of Trebor Yarruns in a 1913 story called "The Coward". His protagonist, Dempsey Darden, takes in a college basketball game-winner: “The ball described a half ellipse in mid-air and descended straight for the basket. A swish of netting resounded as the ball dropped through the goal without touching the iron rim.”
Voila! String music is born. (Even if the characters were fictional.)
In anticipation of March Madness and the ongoing march of the mystical Golden State Warriors, I asked a number of my sports associates, NBAers, college players, writers, broadcasters and weekend warriors to give me their best shots in describing the magical sound of net-snapping nirvana. What started as a wish list became a...
There is no perfect list of NBA shooters. Whether you try to channel the magic of Steph, Klay, Dell Curry, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Michael Jordan, Rick Barry, Kyle Korver, Dirk Nowitzki or Ray Allen, they all are or were masters of string music from near, far or farther.
These magic makers could flip the net over the rim with one shot and release it with a swish on the next. Some say many of these athletic artists of arc perfected a 55-degree parabola whether they were shooting at a tight rim, loose rim, rim with new nets, no net, torn net, metal nets, indoors, outdoors or in their hoop dreams.
Millions of people play basketball and love the sight and sound of the ball making the nets sing. For the next few weeks from coast to coast and in our own back yard, we will all be the beneficiaries of a bountiful basket full of swish.