RIP Grant Wahl

The ball floated through the air, its pebbled surface spinning softly, as serene and peaceful as a space capsule in a low-earth orbit. At 10:29 p.m. CDT on Monday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, the fate of a college basketball season rested on Kansas guard Mario Chalmers — or, to be more precise, on his last-ditch three-pointer, a make-or-break heave with 2.1 seconds left that would either send the NCAA title game into overtime or give Memphis, clinging to a 63-60 lead, its first championship in school history.

In his mind’s eye Chalmers had been here before. As a four-year-old in Anchorage he and his father, Ronnie, would set up a makeshift basketball arena in their family room, complete with two Nerf basketball goals, couches for team benches and even space for Mario’s mother, Almarie, to perform The Star-Spangled Banner. Mario would often skip to the finish and (three, two, one!) launch a bomb with the championship on the line. In those days, as on Monday night, Super Mario was money. “As soon as it left my hand it felt good, and I knew it was going in,” Chalmers said after his miraculous trey from the top of the key had completed KU’s rise from a nine-point abyss with 2:12 left in regulation. “I just waited for it to hit the net.”

Amazing writing from an amazing writer. RIP Grant Wahl…


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