Trick Plays

Noted basketball savant JaVale McGee fakes injury, slams home dunk on unsuspecting Warriors

October 17, 2019
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
Andrew D. Bernstein

JaVale McGee is known for lots of things. Using three balls during a single Dunk Contest dunk. Starring in a reality TV show with his mother. Being featured so regularly on 'Shaqtin' a Fool' that he earned his own nickname, Tragic Bronson. Sharp wits and cunning might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of journeyman center, now plying his trade in LA alongside fellow connoisseur of bad decision making Dwight Howard, but on Wednesday night, everything changed.

Early in the third quarter of the Lakers' preseason showdown with the Warriors, McGee handed it off to LeBron at the top of the arc, rolled his man, and promptly came up lame, limping off beneath the baseline. Then, with the Warriors focusing their numerical advantage on the Lakers' four remaining players, McGee sprung into action, scampering into the paint, collecting the pass and slamming it home uncontested. Two points. Easy as humble pie. Perhaps, just like the Warriors, we've been underestimating McGee this whole time...

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Apparently this is legal in the NBA, where anything, excepting having an opinion about the political climates of far-off lands, goes. In every other sports league on earth, if you come up hurt and limp off, you can't reenter play without referee permission or, at the very least, until the next restart in play. Still, it's a heads up play by McGee to identify the loophole and exploit it. Maybe he has a future as a trial attorney after all. The only quibble is that McGee probably shouldn't have put this on tape until the regular season, but in his defense, he probably thinks it is the regular season.

The fake injury fumblerooski isn't the only new wrinkle McGee has added to his game this offseason, however. He's also developed a knockdown jumper from beyond the arc like Steph on some freakish trial growth serum:

Look out, NBA. If smart Javale is already this dominant, just imagine what will happen if he learns to shoot.

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