Vernon: What does Chalmers’ shot really mean?
- Feb. 14, 2013
- 2 Comments
What can 10.8 seconds mean?
That was my assignment — to find out what Mario Chalmers’ miracle heave means to Bill Self five years later.
And I tried to do just that. I really did. But what kept pounding through my head was the fact that Chalmers’ shot, his career, means so much to so many people, and Bill Self is just (a very important) one of them.
For starters, it means that Chalmers’ jersey will be suspended over the bleachers in Allen Fieldhouse, hanging next to jerseys with the last names “Chamberlain,” “Manning” and “Pierce.”
It means that the iconic image of Chalmers’ shot — the one where Chalmers rises over Derek Rose with “3.7” on the shot clock looming over him — will always be on the mural in Allen Fieldhouse next to the Jayhawks’ locker room.
It means that when fathers, even grandfathers, take their children to Allen Fieldhouse in 50 years, they’ll point to the mural and ask their kids, “Do you know who that is?” Some kids will dutifully respond with “Mario Chalmers” or “Super Mario,” and others will listen to a tale.
This is not just any tale. It is a tale of how one shot pulled the underappreciated Kansas program back on the stage of national relevancy. Kansas had the wins, the history, the tradition, but it hadn’t had a championship in 20 years.
This is a tale of how one shot changed everything.
That parental tour guide doesn’t need to look in his book. He’ll gladly tell the child about the day that Mario Chalmers made him dance in the streets like a fool. The day when Chalmers became a legend. Those grandchildren will go on to tell their children, too.
It means going onto Youtube for a quick minute with your roommates to re-watch the greatest shot in the history of Kansas basketball. It means reminiscing about where you were, what you did, how you celebrated the events that followed. It means you’re stuck watching Kansas basketball videos for the next 30 minutes.
If you’re a student now, it means you’re jealous of the students in 2008. If you were a student then, it means you got to celebrate on Massachussetts Street with thousands of your classmates. It means you had the greatest party, possibly the greatest night of the greatest four years of your life.
And back to my assignment— I guess I’ll get to that one person who may have had a few million more reasons to care about the shot than everyone else, even though they’ll argue that they had a million, too. Their million just isn’t quite as literal — and doesn’t have a dollar sign in front it.
More important than the money, Bill Self became a legend when Chalmers’ shot gave Kansas five more minutes to beat an emotionally distraught Memphis team. When the shot fell, there was little doubt that Self would be the fourth coach in Kansas history to reach the pinnacle of the sport synonymous with KU.
Keep in mind, it was just two games before that Self fell to his knees and pounded the court as the Jayahwks survived destiny’s Davidson team. He was so relieved, so thrilled to break the Elite Eight barrier and make it to the Final Four. It meant he was no longer just a really good coach. It meant he was elite.
But this is just one writer, one college student’s interpretation of what those 10.8 seconds mean, when Sherron Collins almost lost the handle, Chalmers rose for the tie and Kansas suddenly had life in a lifeless game.
Really, there’s no other way to say it: those 10.8 seconds mean something to us all.
So while you’re sitting in Allen Fieldhouse watching the jersey ceremony accompanied with the emotional highlight montage and the tear-filled speech, please think way back to April 7, 2008 and try remember exactly what you were doing, who you were with, how you celebrated that miracle shot.
And while you’re at it, ask yourself the question: What do those 10.8 seconds mean to you?