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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Von Wafer's Missed Opportunity

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

On Monday night, Von Wafer made one of the most boneheaded moves ever seen in the NBA. In overtime, Wafer went up for a dunk against the Washington Wizards, but missed the dunk. Not realizing that he missed, he celebrated facing the crowd before turning and running up-court. Upon turning, Wafer ran into Jermaine O’Neal, who had rebounded Wafer’s miss and was attempting to go up for a shot, forcing O’Neal to double dribble and turn the ball over. Wafer is receiving criticism from every direction, but we should all take a step back and assess the situation.
Wafer is a seldom used bench player who was getting extended playing time and he was trying to make the most of it. As a fan of basketball, I see missed dunks several times every year, but this one was different. Missed dunks are excusable, causing turnovers are not. Wafer should not have been celebrating a dunk during such a crucial time because the points would have put Boston up by four with three minutes left to play.
Wafer is known as a hard worker, and has been a spark off the bench when called upon. Yes we can snicker at an NBA athlete missing a dunk, but it is not fair to ridicule him for celebrating what he thought was a crucial basket. If it had gone in, the dunk would have emotionally charged the Celtics and they surely would have gone on to close out the lowly Wizards. This ended up being a crucial play, because Boston ended up losing by one, and this in reality was a four-point swing.
After looking at the game, lets look at the bigger picture: Boston was not playing to win the game, they were not fighting for playoff positioning because they rested four of their starters for this game. They were already in the third seed for the playoffs, so in reality what Wafer did was nothing more than a meaningless mistake. It is not fair to criticize a third year player when he is just trying to make a name for himself. Besides, Wafer obviously felt bad (and perhaps a little dumb) for what transpired, just watch his reaction to the play. He has learned from his mistake, I am sure it won't happen again.
Mistakes happen, and this is what the public needs to understand. If you were given an opportunity to show your talents in your workplace, wouldn’t you attempt to make a name for yourself? You might fall on your face in the process, but at least you tried. There will always be more opportunities, and I promise you that Wafer is not sitting in his condo crying about what could have been. He knows that an NBA team won’t look at that play and decide not to give him a roster spot.

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