It’s a Slam Dunk

“Basketball is an intricate, high-speed game filled with split-second, spontaneous decisions. But that spontaneity is possible only when everyone first engages in hours of highly repetitive and structured practice–perfecting their shooting, dribbling, and passing and running plays over and over again–and agrees to play a carefully defined role on the court. . . . spontaneity isn’t random.”

― Malcolm Gladwell

Irving Arts Center
Irving, Texas

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX)
It’s a Slam Dunk (2007)
Welded Steel

In the background is Fountain Columns by Jesús Bautista Moroles

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX) It's a Slam Dunk (2007) (click to enlarge)

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX)
It’s a Slam Dunk (2007)
(click to enlarge)

“I am more than just a Serious basketball fan. I am a life-long Addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
― Hunter S. Thompson

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX) It's a Slam Dunk (2007) (click to enlarge)

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX)
It’s a Slam Dunk (2007)
(click to enlarge)

“We old athletes carry the disfigurements and markings of contests remembered only by us and no one else. Nothing is more lost than a forgotten game.”
― Pat Conroy

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX) It's a Slam Dunk (2007)

George Tobolowsky (Dallas, TX)
It’s a Slam Dunk (2007)

“And I would be the first to admit that probably, in a lot of press conferences over the time that I have been in coaching, indulging my own sense of humor at press conferences has not been greatly to my benefit.”
― Robert Montgomery Knight

When I first graduated from college I took a job in a small city isolated out on the windswept Great Plains, only a few miles from the little town my family was from. I didn’t know anybody in town and there wasn’t all that much to do anyway so I thought I’d take a class at the local junior college. It was funny, I had trouble enrolling (I had to get permission from a dean) because, even though I had four years at university, my high school transcripts were unavailable, lost in the revolution.

I had never been able to take psychology – the classes often filled up, with preference given to students in the major, plus it was impossible to fit a class in around my extensive laboratory courses. So I enrolled in Psych 101 at the junior college.

It was shocking how easy the class was, especially after coming through four years of chemistry, math, and physics. I barely had to study and I don’t think I missed a single question on a single exam. Yet the other student constantly complained about the amount of work assigned and the difficulty of the tests. It was like high school. I remember thinking that if at university anyone would dare (and none ever did) complain, the professor would have simply pointed to the door.

The instructor, however, was excellent. A very old man, he taught an interesting class and dealt with the whining with more patience than I thought possible… or necessary.

One day he came up to me before class and asked me a question.

“Your last name, did you have a father from around here.”

“Yes, my dad is from a small town nearby.”

“Did he play basketball?”


“I remember being the referee when your father played in high school. I had never seen an athlete like that. He was the best basketball player I ever reffed.”

“You’re kidding. You remember him after all this time?”

“Yes, it was quite a game. I remember I fouled him out of the game near the end.”

The next weekend I told this story to my father.

“He’s lying,” my father said, “I never fouled out of a game.”