When the Milwaukee Bucks faced the New York Knicks, Giannis Antetokopunmpo jumped over a professional basketball player during an NBA game.
But the energy was off when it happened largely because Kristaps Porzingis left the game early due to a knee injury. The famed, rowdy home crowd was ridiculously anxious in New York after the star player appeared unable to apply pressure after his fall that turned out to be a feared torn ACL.
Attendance was hardly a problem as the two teams are both in contention for spots in the Eastern Conference postseason. The jumbotron often showed the fans some celebrities in attendance like former World Series champion CC Sabathia and tennis legend John McEnroe.
The mood went from bad to worse when Antetokopunmpo quite literally jumped over Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. for an electrifying dunk.
When you watch a highlight happen in person, the crowd goes nuts. If this were a Slam Dunk Contest, the arena would have been shaking from the adrenaline and the emotion.
In a city as diverse as New York, there was inevitability a splattering of Greek-born fans who were thrilled to see their native son put up such an insane highlight. Otherwise, the auditory response could be described as pithy and apathetic — at most.
Who could blame them? The opposing team was up big and Porzingis was reportedly on his way to a hospital for an MRI. This was not a time to cheer. It would be like celebrating a friend receiving good news right as you were in the midst of a break-up with a romantic partner.
But without much of a reaction from folks nearby, it hardly even felt like Antetokopunmpo had just destroyed someone.
Let’s be clear that what Antetokopunmpo did on Tuesday was even more incredible because it happened during game action. These things simply don’t happen on an NBA court.
Standing at 6-foot-6, it’s not like Hardaway is a small human. He is quite the opposite. Yet somehow Antetokopunmpo was able to fully clear him and it did not seem unreasonable.
It was as if what he had just accomplished was in the realm of possibility — even though we know it sure as heck was not. The last time something even comparable happened was when Vince Carter also jumped over Frederic Weis in Olympic action.
We’ll never see anything like it happen again because it is improbable that even world-class high jumpers are capable of that kind of athleticism.
Without hyperbole or recency bias, this moment will likely be one of the defining moments in the season for Antetokopunmpo.
If the giddiness from people watching on Twitter is any indication, it might be one that fans will use to recall the season as well.