Daniel Gibson was gone as quickly as he arrived. At least, that’s what it felt like. A second-round pick out of Texas, Boobie had a quiet rookie year. Understandable, given a team with LeBron James and a healthy slew of veterans around him doesn’t need much out of a crapshoot pick. And it showed, as Cleveland found itself up 3-2 in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals. Then, this happened:
31 points, out of nowhere. I hadn’t watched much basketball up until this game, and I couldn’t turn down a game after it. This was great as just another sports moment – an unknown playing out of his mind, taking his team to new heights – but I’ll be damned if this wasn’t beautiful. The stakes, the energy, LeBron’s big brother routine, and then, of course, Gibson. His jumper was a perfect blend of technical and gorgeously threatening. Once you look past the fundamentals, it’s a Remington M40, how pulling back the bolt was violent, menacing, yet silky smooth all at once. He earned the Cavs a win, and a new fan.
The outburst turned out to be a bit prophetic, as Gibson went on to become a dependable sharpshooter, even taking his act to the Rookie-Sophomore game and three-point shootout. I would watch from afar, not having League Pass. Refreshing box scores every few seconds and commanding the family TV for every appearance on ESPN or TNT was routine. I’d always be waiting for that next Game 6 moment, though what I found was Gibson made Game 6, Game 6 didn’t make Gibson. He still carried that swagger, while keeping within his role. He was still on the skinnier side, but didn’t let that slow his defense down. He was awesome, and my favorite player for quite a while.
Then, poof. The summer of 2013 arrived, and Gibson was a free agent. The summer of 2013 went, and Gibson remained a free agent. The 2013-14 season began, and Gibson wasn’t on a team. The exact reasons aren’t known, as he definitely had the talent to find a spot in the league. A couple of years later he appeared on a radio show saying he would pursue a rap career. The NBA hasn’t seen him since.
Sports is a series of fleeting moments. As I’ve grown out of that young fan drooling over every Gibson three and into a professional role covering the league, more and more moments become temporary. They are sidelined by analysis and obligations, context and objectivity. And they get lost, and that sucks. I’d go months without remembering Boobie Gibson or Game 6, despite it being the reason I love this game.
I wanted to start this blog for a number of reasons. I no longer write everyday, which is a problem. I no longer do creative writing whatsoever. I no longer write stupid things because I want to get paid, which has spoiled the fun a bit. But I think this blog can also exist for Game 6, and all the other fleeting moments that are thrown in the pile during the never-ending conveyor belt of games, thoughts, pitches and stats. The beautiful stuff. Let that live on this blog, so maybe we can think back to Game 6, and Daniel Gibson, a little more.