The Basketball Parable

Once upon a time (January 11, 2013 to be exact) a man took a basketball in his hands, walked up to the half-court line, and to the roar of the admiring crowd took the shot worth $1000.00.

As one of our resident historians (Ben P.) lamented: “Seriously, I have spent five minutes googling every morning for the past few days trying to see if an explanation has been given yet. Surely there has to be, right? I mean, A BALL ISN’T SUPPOSED TO DO THAT!!!!”

But as one of our resident mathematicians (Cynthia L) explained: “It can do that. Thrown from half court, there is enough force to deform the ball, making it wedge itself in the corner. This doesn’t happen in normal shooting because it happens at closer range. So if it hits that small flat area, it will bounce, not stick.”

But the real point is that this can be your newest Sunday School analogy. See this man did all in his power to make that shot, but something (weird but amazing physics) caused it to get stuck. And then beautifully he was saved by grace, after all he could do.

Take the clip into your class and watch as people’s eyes alight in understanding. Or at least exclaim “Awesome!”


  1. I still refuse to believe this is possible.

  2. Parable: don’t even try; life’s rigged.

    Also, make sure your parables figure in that the prize was only $1,000, a ridiculously small amount for a typical professional sports halftime competition.

    This whole thing just baffles me.

  3. No kidding, Ben P. I have to do a little family brag here. My brother won a Mercedes last month during halftime at a Kings game. O.K., a year lease on a Mercedes. Way to rock the BYU Fredette jersey!

  4. It’s times like this when I know that all my degrees were totally worth it.

  5. Ha ha…has anyone heard Jim Dabakis tell the story of the Warriors halftime contest he participated in as a missionary in SF? It’s pretty funny and I’m sure there is a parable to be found in there as well. Start at about 17:02:

  6. That’s about the most baskets anyone wearing a Fredette jersey has made in that arena this season! He deserves the Mercedes.

    Of course, he’ll have to pay income tax on the value of those lease payments. it’s the gift that keeps on giving–to the IRS!

  7. Not the first time this has happened.

  8. Left Field says:

    I was thinking the backspin might have something to do with it.

    I once won a bottle of shampoo at a New Orleans Zephyrs game. That’s pretty awesome too.

  9. It does probablt have to have some backspin, but the real issue is angle of flight. Only a shot from straight on, top of the key or farther out, would have a chance of ending in this result. So you can see that it is much more likely to happen in a halfcourt stunt shot than in a game, because players rarely shoot from straight above the key in a game. However, I have seen shots get stuck between the side of the rim and the backboard in a game. That is not unheard of at all.

  10. So, is it all he could do if he could have made the shot? Observe:

  11. MCQ wouldn’t players be shooting from straight above the key in almost every free-throw ever taken? I think the added force from a shot of that distance is a critical factor.

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