The Ogg Man

Ironically, if Ogg were to begin turning in eleven-point efforts on a regular basis, the crowd's interest in the Stick Man might wane. Fans might develop expectations and begin making demands, and his mistakes would no longer be so entertaining, his successes no longer so satisfying. For now, Miami has made him their rodeo clown, a welcome distraction from lopsided losses, and as long as he remains complicitly mediocre, the honeymoon will continue. And Ogg doesn't seem to mind. In fact he's almost philosophical about it. "They called for me at UAB, but it was nothing like this. Here you can hear it above everything, and I like it," says the Center of Attention. "It gets me fired up. I want to get into the game then and do something good."

Part 4

As mythical as Alan Ogg's rise through basketball has been, one facet of the game has resisted his legend - the three-point shot. The darling of sharpshooters, the three-pointer is a comedy prop in the hands of the game's tall men, as anyone will attest if they ever got to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shoot long-distance. In his college days, Ogg risked only a single long-range missile. "It was against UNC-Charlotte, and we were up by 30 and running out the clock," recalls Grant Shingleton, UAB's director of sports information. "Right before coach was about to take all the starters out, Alan was standing there outside the three-point line, holding the ball. And people were shouting, `Shoot it!' He bricked it terribly."

"I missed the whole goal," Ogg says sheepishly, "but you would have thought I made it they way they screamed."

If it happened in Birmingham, it can happen in the Magic City. Heat fans, repeat this to yourself every night: Alan Ogg will shoot a three, Alan Ogg will shoot a three. Say it until it's branded on the inside of your brain. And then, once you've familiarized yourself with the product, ask for it by name. Be responsible, be discreet, but one of these days, when the Heat are down by law or disemboweling the opposition, call for the triple.

Just imagine. A half-court offense, ball kicked back out to Ogg, no open man, shot clock ticking down, three, two, and the condor-arms heave the basketball skyward.... It'll require gravity, and luck, and maybe the paid assistance of Industrial Light and Magic, but imagine that it drops, not perfectly clean (that would be too much to ask, even from a fantasy), but a little wiggle 'round the rim and then the sink.

It isn't pretty, but it isn't ugly. It's positively Oggly.

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