There is an old clichÃ© in sport that âevery night you see something that you have never seen beforeâ. Technically that’s true, because you’ve never seen these players doing exactly these things at this exact moment, but let’s be honest – it’s rare that we see anything truly unique.
So when an NBA player gets the ball stolen by his own shoe, you tend to notice it.
As the Sacramento Kings tried to hang on to a declining lead in the last minute of their opener with the Portland Trail Blazers, madness ensued. With his team ahead by four points, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox dribbled the clock a bit before heading for the basket with 35 seconds left. However, as he changed direction, Fox’s shoe flew off and tripped him, resulting in a quick break from the Blazers.
You don’t see a player lose their shoe in the middle of the game every night, but that’s certainly nothing to say to your grandchildren. Upon closer inspection, however, you can see that the turnover was actually caused by Fox dribbling the ball straight from his own detached shoe, which crossed the pitch with reckless abandon.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is the stuff of legend. CJ McCollum technically got the flight, but all the credit rightly goes to Fox’s size 12.5 fluorescent orange Nike.
After the game, Fox said it was the first time he wore Kobe Bryant‘s iconic sneakers in some time.
âHe was trying to get us,â Fox said, via Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento. “(The shoe) flew off, then literally the next dribble (the ball) bounced off the shoe.”
Not only was this an implausible confluence of events, but it also happened at an incredibly crucial time. After the turnover, Blazers forward Robert Covington was left with a clean 3-point look in transition that would have reduced the lead to just one point. He missed, but Norman Powell was fouled after an offensive rebound from Portland, making one of two free throws.
Portland eventually lost possession by three points with eight seconds remaining, when Kings coach Luke Walton made the decision not to commit a foul, and instead let Damian Lillard take a potential tying 3 points which probably has gave many former playoff opponents PTSD. Lillard’s shot went in and out, and the Kings escaped with a 124-121 win, but Walton’s decision was almost as baffling as Fox having the ball stolen by his own shoe.
In the end, Fox finished with 27 points, eight assists, five rebounds and one of the most unique moments you’ll ever see on a basketball court.