Al Horford, King of Boring
Sex sells. It is an unfortunate reality that both the common man and the N.B.A. are aware of. Because of this, extra attention is often given to the N.B.A.’s supposed sexiest players: J.R. Smith, Meyers Leonard, Kelly Oubre. They, and a few others, have managed to stand out as the steamiest among some of the most athletically gifted and skilled individuals alive. Should they, however, really be paid extra attention for this? As Christians, our value comes not in how silky smooth our on and off court game is, our objectively handsome selves, or our incredible bodies. No, our value comes from Heaven. So, in an effort to level the playing field for a moment, I will focus attention on the less sexy side of the N.B.A., particularly Al Horford.
Now, I am sure some of you may be thinking that sexiness is subjective and reminding yourselves of the age-old adage, “Sexiness is in the eye of the beholder.” So, for the sake of transparency, I will explain why I determined the aforementioned three players to be sexy. J.R. Smith made the list due to his unnecessary and often confusing removal of his shirt. Meyers Leonard made the list due to his Adonis-like physique. And Kelly Oubre made the list due to his lanky Supreme sleeve-covered body and willingness to throw down if you dare touch him or one of his teammates (watch out Klay Thompson, Kelly Olynyk, and the back of John Wall’s head…Kelly Olynyk is also undoubtedly one of the least sexy players in the N.B.A.).
With that out of the way, I will move into the boring, un-sexy realm of the N.B.A., a realm justly and calmly ruled by its king, Al Horford. Do not be mistaken, Al Horford is good. In 2006 and 2007 he helped lead a Florida Gators team to being only the second team to win back-to-back National Championships, averaging just shy of a double-double his junior, and final, season. He then went on to be picked third overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2007 draft behind the incredible Greg Oden and his un-incredible knees and the actually incredible Kevin Durant. Horford made the N.B.A.’s All-Rookie First Team and within three seasons received his first All-Star selection. Perhaps most impressively, however, he was the 2011 N.B.A. Shooting Stars champion alongside Coco Miller and Steve Smith. Horford cemented himself as a star in Atlanta before moving to Boston last season, continuing to put up respectable numbers and playing well off of Irving this season.
The stats do not lie. 4x N.B.A. All-Star Al Horford is certainly not a bad basketball player; he is just really boring. He is a powerful player, and really good at that classic big man dunk where they dunk really hard while completely outstretching their arm and barely managing to get the ball over the top of the rim — a rim they grab just long enough so we know it was a dunk — but no longer. It gets two points, but it is certainly not the coolest dunk in the book. He also sometimes does that big man dunk on someone and it energizes his crowd and team, and you expect for him to scream and flex, or at least emote, but he does not. Every so often he does let out a quick yell, and then regains his composure and hustles back down the court. His dunk, however, is not the most notable part of his game. This honor would go to his jumpshot. Horford’s jumpshot looks like someone taught a young child who was not strong enough to shoot how to heave the ball to the rim, and from there it never developed further. His jump shot goes in, but the downside is that it makes him physically incapable of fading away, one of the sexiest things a player can do. It does, however, couple well with his pump fake where he never actually moves the ball, but instead just squats down underneath it and then makes his move. His game, boring and weird as it may be, does get the job done.
Horford should not be written off for his boringness, but he should instead be applauded for his skill and the results he gets. We cannot all be sexy, but we do all deserve recognition for our accomplishments, recognition that should be channeled into praise to the one true God, as we are all image-bearers and display the intricacy and diversity with which He created us through our every action.